Have you been checking in with old friends? New friends? Even just your “regular friends” whom now you haven’t seen for the last month? I delight in knowing that—to the best of my knowledge—everyone is okay. But of course, there are many who aren’t “okay,” whether the suffering comes from sickness, loneliness, poverty… or just the uncertainty of not knowing where we are and where we’re going. I think we all feel a bit of the latter type of suffering. Which makes it tough to answer the question, "How are you doing?"
My proposed solace for the above is understanding and taking the actions suggested by that understanding. So here we go with a bit of Coronavirus specific science and solutions.
While it is true that the coronavirus has taken some vital and healthy people, those have primarily been health care workers who received a too-hefty dose of the virus from their line of work. My deep gratitude and admiration go out to those working in our front lines. We have seen that without such a hefty exposure, the severity of the disease reflects the underlying health of the person hosting the virus.
Two main factors affect resilience in the face of COVID-19 (the name of the disease caused by the Coronavirus.) I’m going to call these resilience factors, and they are both generally true and now seen specifically with COVID-19. Your important resilience factors are:
1. Metabolic health: better if you’re not obese and your sugar and insulin levels are normal.
2. Physical activity: fitness is great, but just regular exercise is helpful.
Metabolic health is a chronic state of affairs, and many articles on this website talk about insulin resistance and how to optimize your own insulin, blood sugar and body fat. Of course, no solution is right for everyone, some individuals need particular tweaks to optimize metabolism, on top of avoiding the “usual suspects” of processed food and refined carbohydrates. If you’ve followed the proper low carb dietary guidelines and you’re not getting all the results you’d like to see, consider that you may be (this comes from genetics’ testing) particularly sensitive to:
1. Saturated fats, for some, these are better minimized.
2. Meal timing (early dinners and 13 hour overnight fasting is best), or
3. Exercise! Some amount of brisk or arduous exercise may be necessary for your metabolism to normalize.
If your metabolic health isn’t currently ideal, take advantage of staying at home by being a smart shopper (no tempting treats at home and no access to on-the-go foods!) and begin to make a change in your numbers. And, it's a particularly great time to bump up your exercise.
Physical activity can be a helpful resilience factor from simply doing the exercise, whether or not you are yet as “fit” as you think you could be. Research (described here) has identified the specific beneficial result of even a single session of exercise. Moving briskly or exerting force stimulates our body to increase production of an anti-oxidant known as “extracellular superoxide dismutase,” or EcSOD. While it is being considered and tested as a treatment for COVID-19, it is also known that your own internal production of the compound super-charges your immune system and enables you to resist contracting the disease.
It’s also known that exercise can boost your mental health, both cognition and emotion. Recent research Has suggested that coordinated exercise can be particularly helpful. While rowing and cycling and ZUMBA are great, coordinated exercise can be achieved in simple exercise as well. I received a wonderful coaching session recently from Dr. Amelia Bueche (she's an exercise badass, check out her blog here) who advised me to do something that seemed (to my grandiose concept of my own fitness) too simple. She reminded me that you can enhance the reward from any exercise by the degree of attention, precision, and effort you bring to its performance.
Hold your arms in front of you and settle into a good posture. Focus on tightening every muscle involved in that posture, and retain that effort as you slowly open your arms to the side and return them to the front. You just did a coordinated exercise!
And it’s never too soon or too late: all age groups benefit broadly from exercise. Remember having PE in school—it helped you learn your math! And in later years, exercise boosts memory.
Connection is healthy
And finally, we have all learned (there’s literally been research done!) showing that some degree of online interaction helps fill the gap we all feel from each other and our familiar world. Along with other members of Northwest Memory Center, I have entered the online world for presentations I would normally do in public. Consider joining me for a ZOOM presentation or listening to a recent podcast interview.
ZOOM meeting, we’re calling “Healthy at Home: Exercise and Movement.” We’ll be live this Wednesday, 22 April at noon PDT, sharing some home healthy tips from myself and from Derek Barber, the Genius in the Gym at Hidden Springs. You can join our Zoom Meeting by clicking on this link or you can dial in (see below.) If you have never used ZOOM before, please click here for a video tutorial on how to join a virtual meeting.
OR if you’re more of a podcast person, I was just interviewed by Aaron Zober for his podcast, Approriate Omnivore. Here’s a link to the episode.
We're getting through this! Take care of yourself, appreciate your loved ones, and If you don’t have a lot of spring bloom around you, please find a way to take a drive: the air is cleaner than normal and the flowers are loving it!
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ZOOM dial-up information:
Dial by your location
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 929 436 2866 US (New York)
+1 253 215 8782 US
+1 301 715 8592 US
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
Meeting ID: 942 8476 9385