Updated: Dec 13, 2020
What has this quarantine and pandemic taught us about our health? For starters, our physical health is not something to be taken for granted. Many people were, and still are, affected by this horrible virus and spent weeks, sometimes months, on end fighting to return back to “normal” health. Those of us who avoided any symptoms were ultimately blessed to continue living our “new normal” whether it was in quarantine at home or as an essential worker to help everyone get through this time of need. This also brings to light an interesting aspect of the global pandemic, but not the one you’re thinking of. While the media and socials are obsessed with coverage of the latest COVID-19 news, I'm talking about the ongoing global pandemic of obesity. Everything was done to ensure that the spread of coronavirus was halted or at least slowed in every aspect of our lives, so why has very little been done to slow the obesity pandemic? It probably has something to do with our society's need for a quick fix for everything, even though we all know healthy habits are not a quick fix so it becomes easy to abandon them after a while, but let's not get into that. I’m not claiming to have the answers, and i'm sure there are plenty of hoops to jump through when it comes to introducing legislation that deals with this sort of problem, but shouldn’t even the mention of a correlation between worsened COVID-19 symptoms and obesity scare us all. We all saw that someone's age put them at the highest risk as nursing homes were hit hard by this virus and lost many people, but do you know what was the second highest risk factor of hospitalization from this virus? You guessed it. Obesity. One study found that in New York City 62% of people who were hospitalized from the virus were considered obese compared to 36% of those without obesity. Sure, you could say can you really rely on statistics of one study? No, you shouldn't or else you'd believe everything you read on the internet and nobody likes that person. However, more and more studies are coming out that agree with the link between worse symptoms and obesity as the virus rages on.
As a Personal Trainer I am clearly a bit biased and want everyone to enjoy working out and eating healthy with as much enthusiasm as I do. Unfortunately, I realize that not everyone thinks this way. I do hope that this unique time we are living in has taught us that our health does not take a back seat to anything. Physical, mental, spiritual, emotional health will affect us in ways that we may not even realize. For example: I've always known that my time in the gym with some metal music screaming in my ear is one of the key components to my mental health and one of the places I feel most comfortable. Maybe it's not the metal music that does it for you but the friendships that you have formed between people at your gym or the relationship between you and your trainer or the gyms staff or even your love of embracing the suck. Whatever it may be, I think we can all agree that it is very hard, if not impossible, to replicate those feelings by working out at home especially if you don't have access to the equipment. We've all had to adjust and find new ways to exercise. Hopefully you took this time to try something new and incorporate family and friends to nurture relationships and hold yourself accountable. Biking around town, hiking, virtual marathons, shooting hoops in the driveway are all examples I've seen on social media from friends, clients, and family. Hopefully you took this time to perfect your meal prep strategies or discovered new recipes so that chicken breast and broccoli isn’t your least favorite meal in the world that you keep force feeding yourself because it’s inherently “healthy”. At the end of the day our health should be our highest priority because as more and more studies are showing it can have huge implications on our quality of life, and in some cases such as this pandemic, even our life span.