According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 78 percent of those hospitalized due to Covid-19 were either overweight or obese. The same report notes that obesity is a recognized risk factor for severe Covid-19, which is possibly due to chronic inflammation that disrupts the body’s immune response and impairs lung function.
These findings support the need for prevention strategies that include continued vaccination but also highlight the role nutrition and fitness play in our health. Because of these findings, it is possible to see more and more health care professionals prescribing a healthy nutrition plan and exercise as a means to improve one’s health and well-being, concurrently with medication and other interventions.
Hopefully more people will engage in physical activity once our communities are better able to cope with Covid-19. Here are some activities I envision more people will partake of:
Walking/Jogging/Running. One of the most convenient activities is to go walking. Go to areas where you can do these activities with ample social distancing. While there are those who prefer doing this on a treadmill, doing these activities outdoors is good for our mental health, too. I would suggest looking into getting good footwear.
Swimming. This requires more preparation as you have to get access to a body of water, but swimming is a good cardiovascular exercise that helps increase lung and heart capacity and helps strengthen the muscles.
Strength training. Strength training is not limited to barbells, kettlebells and gym implements. Bodyweight training can be a good way to strength train for some individuals. More and more people have started to invest in a home gym as well. Strength training has been found to improve our functional abilities as we age hence more reason to partake of it. To avoid potential injuries, pay attention to proper programming, or better yet, hire a professional to make a program and monitor your progress.
CrossFit. For people who enjoy being a part of a community and training with some intensity, CrossFit can be a viable option for fitness. Make sure to find a CrossFit facility that emphasizes good technique, proper progression and good coaching. This mode of exercise has been known for overuse injuries. Just like strength training, programming is of utmost importance.
Golf. For those who love the outdoors and having some sense of community and competition, golf is also a good way to get your steps in and some sunshine.
Dancing. This is a good activity to boost your mood. You can do it at the comfort of your living room. Just play some music and dance your heart away. Husbands get ready!
Yoga/Pilates. There are a lot of online classes for both yoga and pilates from local as well as international instructors. These exercises are suitable for those who prefer a more gentle exercise routine.
With joining classes, it is important to choose your instructors wisely, being instructed by someone who has a good working knowledge of anatomy and physiology is a plus.
Neglecting physical activity exposes us to the risks of lifestyle disease and poor health. Too much exercise and/or recovering too little also risks us overuse injuries in our joints, ligaments and tendons. I read this quote from one of the coaches I follow on social media and it sums up the concept in an elegant manner: “You only get one body. And it needs to last you a lifetime. Exercise accordingly.”