Shortages of ventilators, meat, toilet paper and testing. Businesses are shut down; unemployment is up and the fear of contracting and eventually succumbing to a highly contagious virus has gripped us all.
What on earth are we to do?
First, let us dig deeper. Statistics from Johns Hopkins University indicate that large percentages of severe cases of Covid-19 and subsequent deaths have included another co-morbidity.
For example, 86% of critical cases in Washington State have had co-morbidities. Obesity appears to be emerging as a risk factor with a BMI ≥ 30 present in nearly half of hospitalized patients. (read more)
Current data supports better outcomes if you are an otherwise “healthy” person.
The 4 Pillars of Health: Exercise, Nutrition, Sleep, and Stress Management
Exercise for at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily. Managing your body weight can reduce insulin resistance and blood pressure as well as decrease your risk of diabetes.
Eat a healthy diet consisting of whole foods, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and high fiber. Consume limited sugar, alcohol, salt, saturated & trans fats.
Sleep at least 7-8 hours a night. Sleeping less than seven hours per night is associated with weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and other health risks. When you do not get enough sleep, you may also experience increased body aches and pains, as well as reduced immune function
Manage stress with 10-20 minutes of deep breathing, physical activity, meditation, or yoga. This will help you cope with stress and improve your emotional and physical health.
So, let’s get off the couch, eat whole foods, get 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night, limit stress and make sure it does not interfere with your healthy behaviors.
I know how challenging it can be to abide by things that on paper seem so simple. It is important to have a good base of support during such tumultuous times.
Exercise, Healthy Eating, Sleep, and Stress Management should be priorities - not luxuries - if you value your health. Circle back to these basic ideas and allow yourself to practice and improve each area like a skill. Select one behavior for each category and commit to it for 30 days. Post it on your fridge, your desk, screensaver on your phone or laptop to remind you.
Stay safe, stay healthy, stay active.