“Health is the new wealth” — Unknown
Governments around the world have unanimously endorsed avoidance procedures to combat Covid-19. These include handwashing, avoiding touching the face, keeping a distance from sick people and the wearing of personal protective equipment especially masks. The strategy that has had the greatest effect has been self-isolation, physical distancing and quarantining, which forces the youngest to the oldest and the fittest to the unfit, to become inactive and more sedentary.
The risks of inactivity
Prior to Covid-19 isolation, inactivity was already regarded as a significant public health problem. Globally, inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death due to preventable diseases, amounting to three to five million people dying annually of its comorbidities.
While successful in limiting the transmission of the Covid-19 virus, quarantining has come at a substantial cost to metabolic and mental health, resulting in increases in weight, obesity, loss of lean muscle mass (sarcopenia), increased blood glucose levels, insulin resistance, hypertension, diabetes, decreased levels of HDL — the good cholesterol — and increased levels of LDL (the bad one).
An irony of our new world order is that, when we can control Covid-19, we will be left with increases in metabolic syndrome, anxiety and depressive symptoms, increased low-grade inflammation and a decreased immunity response not only to Covid-19 but potentially to other chronic diseases.
The new World Health Organization guidelines recommend 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity and 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity, which is double the previous recommendations. To target some chronic conditions, time in excess of 300 minutes of moderate physical activity can further improve health outcomes.
Here are some things you can do to get back on track and grab hold of your health and wellness.
- Get a fitness evaluation from a qualified fitness professional. This trainer will be able to meet you wherever your fitness level is and create programs that will help you progress safely. Tell the trainer your concerns, likes, dislikes and goals so you get a plan that’s tailored to your needs and desires.
- Take a group fitness class from an experienced instructor. All classes and exercises are designed with modifications in mind. Cannot perform a particular movement or have some type of orthopedic injury/issue? The instructor will provide an appropriate substitution. In addition, the pure energy in the private classroom, complete with energetic music, is infectious and will make you want to keep coming back for more.
- Reestablish focus on your nutrition. Don’t get caught up in click-bait articles, catchy headlines and sound bites stating you can lose x in y days. Think about one thing you can do to improve your current nutrition habits and go from there.
The time is now
The pandemic has affected all of us, whether in physical, mental, emotional or social ways, or quite possibly a combination of all of these. There is one common denominator that can help improve all of these factors. That’s right, you probably guessed it — movement and exercise. Additionally, our immune system is also boosted and kept at strong levels when exercising regularly. The best way to keep yourself protected from disease is to live a healthy lifestyle.
Genetics is something that we cannot control. But here are some things that we can control:
- Lifestyle choices, such as how we spend our time, our sleep patterns and hobbies;
- What we put into our bodies (and what we do not);
- The amount of time we dedicate to movement and exercise.
As much as we all thought we would be “out of this” by now, we are still faced with uncertain times. As noted above, our health is in a dangerous place right now. As always, I’m here to help and have the bandwidth that can connect you to my network of personal trainers, group instructors and nutrition coaches no matter your location or experience. Never hesitate to reach out, and let’s close out 2021 with our health and wellness optimized and prioritized.
Reach Gio at Gio@giovanniroselli.com.