A substantial new study done in California over the past year has shown that people who are totally inactive are 2.5 times more likely to die from COVID than people who exercise regularly.
Amazingly, this lack of activity even outranked diabetes, heart disease and cancer as a risk factor for death.
We know this makes sense, because a lack of exercise leads to systemic inflammation, and the complication in COVID that kills many patients is often a cytokine storm leading to massive inflammation in the lungs and then death.
Lockdowns have made inactivity an even bigger problem.
What makes this finding much worse is that so many people have been forced into inactivity by lockdowns; exercise has been much harder to access, gyms have often been closed, and even basic activities like walking to buy lunch or a coffee have been curtailed. This has meant that many people who were moderately active before COVID hit have been made inactive by a combination of safety concerns and government controls. It becomes much harder to get your daily steps in if you work from home and rarely leave the house!
Try incorporating these 5 simple rules into your daily routine:
- The most important thing you can do is to make time in your day for exercise.You should plan your exercise schedule for tomorrow or even further ahead if you can. If you wait and see if you have time you’ll end up not doing anything. Block off time for exercise, especially if you’re not used to exercising regularly.
- Do some exercise each day that is at least mildly challenging for you.Of course this is going to depend on your fitness level. It might start out as a brisk walk, then graduate to hill walking or even gentle jogging or sprinting as you get fitter. If you’re already fit enough that these seem easy for you, then you’re in the active category and don’t need to worry!
- When you’re ready, make sure you do some form of resistance training.The best way to make your body more insulin sensitive is by actively working your muscles. The most direct way to do this is resistance training, which can be weight training in a gym, body weight exercises at home, Pilates classes or even swimming. Doing these will help empty out your muscles’ fuel stores, leaving room for your next meal.
- Make sure you try to match your exercise to your food intake.This means that you shouldn’t eat a big meal if you know you are going to be inactive all day. If you have a big lunch or dinner and don’t have exercise scheduled in afterwards try to squeeze in 15-30 minutes walking soon after your meal. Most Asian cultures have a word for going for a walk after a meal; even Italians have ‘la passeggiata’. With the possible exception of Boxing Day in the UK, the concept of a postprandial stroll is something that is missing in most Western countries (and it shows!)
- Get help from a friend or a professional.Arranging to meet a friend for a walk, or working with a personal trainer or other fitness professional can be a great way to ease yourself into fitness. The peer pressure from making a commitment certainly helps to keep you motivated, and whether it’s a friend or a paid professional you will have some accountability that keeps you on track.
How can ATP Personal Training help you?
One of the great benefits you’ll get from working with an ATP Personal Training Coach is a set of clear and realistic goals that you’ll work towards step-by-step. During this process you will learn how to be healthier in a sustainable way by building habits and routines that make it easy.
Why wait to get started? Every day where you don’t make a commitment is another day spent being unhealthy! Submit the form below and we’ll tell you how to get started as soon as possible.
*Read the full journal article here:
- Sallis R, Young DR, Tartof SY, et al Physical inactivity is associated with a higher risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes: a study in 48440 adult patients. British Journal of Sports Medicine Published Online First: 13 April 2021. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2021-104080