Covid-19 Update: Stay Fit and Reduce Risk

Hello again everyone:

With all of this telecommuting, Zoom meetings and working from home, things have not gotten better for America’s waistline as well as our mental and physical health. Recent research has revealed that 73% of Americans are overweight or obese. This is really not good as the 3 biggest comorbidities are: being overweight, having insulin resistance and/or being low in Vitamin D. Now we find out working from home has some serious challenges, especially when it comes to food, not moving as much and being socially isolated.

“Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic produced significant health effects, well beyond the virus itself. Government mandates together with fear of contracting the virus have significantly impacted lifestyle behaviors alongside declines in mental health. These deleterious impacts have disproportionally affected individuals with obesity.”

On another note, social isolation has proven to increase inflammation, and as you know, inflammation will cause, promote, aggravate and/or perpetuate virtually all illnesses:

“Perceived social isolation (PSI) (loneliness) is linked to increased risk of chronic disease and mortality, and previous research has implicated up-regulated inflammation and down-regulated antiviral gene expression (the conserved transcriptional response to adversity; CTRA) as a potential mechanism for such effects.”

Bottom Line:
Not only are many of us not eating as well as we should be, we are also not moving much, we have little social contact, and the stress of this entire pandemic and economic conditions do not seem to have an end in sight. All of this causes a really significant rise in anxiety, problems with sleep, and thus elevated stress chemistry. These variables add up to actually making us more vulnerable to illness of all types.

So… what can we do to lower our anxiety and risk factors?

Make some strict work at home rules:

  • Eat only at mealtimes (2 or 3 regular meals/day), strongly restrict snacks.
  • Move regularly: stand up every 15 minutes and take a one-minute walk.
  • Do some brief jumping jacks (say 30 reps) once an hour.
  • Go outside during breaks whenever possible.
  • Make sure you get high quality sleep at a regular time.
  • Get a standing desk if possible.
  • If possible, when on phone calls or Zoom meetings, stand up or pace if it is not rude to others if it is a video call.
  • Stay well hydrated.
  • Eat super clean, i.e., no processed stuff, sugary snacks, chips etc.
  • Do some deep breathing exercises once an hour: for example, try the 4-7-8 method of breathing in deeply for 4 seconds, hold it for 7 seconds, let it out slowly for 8 seconds…repeat for 3 to 5 minutes whenever you can.
  • Realize that for most of us, our risk of this pandemic infection becoming severe is very small…to reduce that risk and anxiety more, do whatever it takes to improve your overall health (get your weight down, manage your blood sugar, take Vit. D after you get your levels checked).
  • Use this crisis as a lever to boost yourself into a healthier state!!

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