COVID-19 is bringing a harsh truth to light in our country: We are out of shape.
Most Americans have some underlying disease. Many of which are undiagnosed or waved off as "not that bad."
If it is diagnosed, it has become the norm for us to opt to have such issues treated with medication to minimize the symptoms. We are not actually FIXING the problem, we are just putting a patch on it hoping that it heals on its own.
The most common issues that we have in America are heart and lung disease. These also are two of the top risk factors for COVID-19 becoming a lethal threat.
Heart disease results in 1 out of every 4 deaths in the United States. According to the American Heart Association, 48.5% of Americans deal with the disease. That is approximately 121 million people.
Lung disease affects approximately 37 million people according to the American Lung Association and 50% of adults with low lung function go undiagnosed.
What people forget is that many of the negative effects, of both of these diseases, can be diminished with things you can control. Better health habits and stopping certain activities can reduce and reverse much of the damage and disease. These changes also will decrease your risk of suffering from these diseases.
Small changes can drastically increase your chances of living longer and healthier. For example, if you can decrease your blood pressure by just 5-8 mmHG, it will decrease your risk of having a stroke by 14%, and decrease your chance of death by 7%.
Here is the list of things you can do to help reverse and decrease your risk of both Heart and Lung Disease
Increase Physical Activity
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Control Blood Sugar
Healthy and Balanced Diet
Manage Blood Pressure
Many of the above are interrelated.
Physical Activity as listed above can be a linchpin among many of the other. Keep your physical activity up and many of the others fall into place.
The standard recommendation is to reach 150 mins of Moderate Aerobic activity or 75 minutes of Vigorous Activity per week. That's less than the duration of most movies these days.
Moderate activity can be judged as activity done where you can carry on a conversation, but would be unable to sing. Vigorous is when you can only speak in a few words at a time.
It is also recommended that there needs to be at least a couple days of moderate- to high-intensity resistance or weight training. More benefit is seen up to 300 minutes a week.
This is only 5 hours of activity across the entire week.
If you are unsure how to safely get started or have health conditions that you are concerned about, then a physical therapist is a great person to reach for guidance.
Unlike your Doctor who will give you a pamphlet. A physical therapist can assess your current health and how you respond to activity. They are well trained in how all the systems in your body work together and can help you modify around any injuries you may have that limit your activity level.
Remember: You can still stay active while sheltering at home!