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Healthy Diet and Exercise: Embrace Active Lifestyle

As much of the world comes to terms with the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, it is clear that an enormous number of lives have been lost, and far too many families have lost loved ones who will be missed for years to come. 

For the many millions of people who have been confined to their homes, the mental resilience that has been needed to cope with the stresses and pressure of confinement has been immense;  for the millions who have contracted the dreadful disease, the physical demands on the body have been great, and sadly, many have succumbed.

YOUR DIET: ALWAYS A MUST

Our understanding of the Covid-19 virus and why its impact varies from one person to another is still at the early stages.  However, there does seem to be an emerging view from medical scientists that those who have a healthy diet and lifestyle seem to be better able to cope with the virus than those who suffer from obesity, and who do only limited amounts of exercise.  Of course, obesity is often associated with many other underlying health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, so it is still hard to make definitive conclusions that link any particular condition to an individual’s ability to cope with the disease.  Nevertheless, there is growing evidence to suggest that conditions such as obesity do adversely affect the body’s immune system, and its ability to respond to, and to fight, the Covid-19 virus.

Young woman admiring a sunny panorama

LIKELY OUTCOMES OF THIS PANDEMIC

So if, in the long term, there is to be any good to come out of this global pandemic, perhaps it will mean that many more people will look more closely at their own lifestyles, and realise that there really is merit in exercising regularly, eating healthily, and maintaining a sensible body weight.

Over the years, many countries have launched expensively funded schemes designed to make the population healthier; on the whole many of these have started well with a rush of enthusiasm, then failed.  Obesity levels have risen and continue to rise around the world, and populations have become less active.  Advances in technology have not helped, and sedentary lifestyles have become an easy option as more and more tasks are able to be undertaken remotely without the need for even our most basic form of exercise, walking. 

Perhaps though, the global pandemic will change that, since there are genuine, potentially life-saving reasons why a good body weight and a strong cardio-vascular system, are important for us all.  Furthermore, a nutritious healthy diet, which contains the natural nutrients that are needed to sustain our immune system is also essential. 

As we emerge from a world of lockdown and confinement, there has surely never been more incentive to embrace lifestyles that include exercise and healthy eating. Many Government’s around the world have been guided by science in their response to the pandemic, and the science is also very clear to us all as individuals – if you look after the long term well being of your body then you are protecting your quality of life, and your future longevity, not just during a time of pandemic, but for a future where we all hope that the Covid-19 virus has become a sad footnote in the history books.

Author: Professor John Brewer, Visiting Professor of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Suffolk

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