Written by Mike Warkentin
Speaking as a private citizen and not a gym owner, I’m going to tell you how I’m going to deal with the Covid Crisis.
Before I begin, I’ll just state that I’m not here to argue or get political. I want healthy people happily earning a living at good jobs and enjoying their lives. I support well-considered measures to make that happen. I’m not going to complain about the government, talk about the unfairness of it all, or trot out a string of “we should” statements here.
I’m just going to tell you how I’m going to proceed based on the information I have at present. Click out if you want a fight. Read on if you want to see my plan.
LISTEN TO THE GOVERNMENT
I’m going to do what the government says, not because I’m a blind follower but because I respect the laws. Whether I currently agree or disagree with policies is irrelevant. I’ll state only that I like to operate on facts and data, and I always like to see as much of that as possible. I like it when the government makes an announcement and I can say, “Wow. That clearly makes sense.”
At present, I’m going to wash my hands, keep my business closed, follow social distancing guidelines and do my part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
ACCEPT THAT I’M PROBABLY GOING TO GET COVID-19
I’m not an epidemiologist or doctor, but the reports I’ve seen suggest Covid-19 isn’t going anywhere soon.
We do not have a vaccine, and we aren’t going to have one next week. It also seems as though our scientists are unsure of how everything is going to play out—that’s the only conclusion I can draw from the news and the fact that governments all over the world are addressing things in very different ways.
I also know from an economic standpoint that we all can’t stay home forever. The world just doesn’t work like that. We need to get food, we need medical care at times and we need to make a living. So there’s just no way to lock us down forever.
I like to plan for the worst so I’m never surprised, so I’ve decided to accept that I’ll get Covid-19. I don’t want it. But that acceptance is key to the next part of my plan. And, if I don’t get it, the rest of my plan will set me up nicely for any other viruses or health issues.
PLAN TO WIN THE FIGHT
If I get sick, I know that it would be great if my body just had to fight one thing at a time, so right now, I’m taking steps to prepare for a fight against Covid, not “comorbidities”—defined as “the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases or conditions in a patient.”
I can’t be certain I won’t get a cold and Covid, so I just have to wash my hands and hope for the best.
But I am going to try to eliminate or prevent any other conditions I can.
WHAT SCIENCE SAYS
Here’s what science has told us: “comorbidities” make Covid-19 worse. Much worse. We’ve also been told that certain comorbidities—hypertension and cardiovascular disease among them—are seen more often than others in many Covid patients.
We’ve also been told that diabetes and metabolic syndrome increase the risk of Covid death by 10 times.
Metabolic syndrome: “a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.” (Mayoclinic.org)
Metabolic syndrome is not rare. In fact, it’s very common: “A lurking crisis not fully realized is the poor baseline metabolic health of many Americans that makes them immensely more vulnerable to severe illness or death from COVID-19,” said Dr. Shebani Sethi Dalai in an article on TheHill.com.
Dr. Dalai noted just over 12 percent of Americans have ideal metabolic health. This means the other 88 percent are at increased risk of everything. Their cells aren’t working properly, their immune systems are compromised, and they have pathogenic inflammation. The last element is even strongly related to poor mental health.
THE KEYS: DIET AND EXERCISE
But here’s the good news: You can take steps that might prevent metabolic syndrome. The Mayo Clinic lists five of them:
– Getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days.
– Eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, lean protein and whole grains.
– Limiting saturated fat and salt in your diet.
– Maintaining a healthy weight.
– Not smoking.
So just five things can reduce my risk of a Covid-related death by 10 times?
Sounds like the foundation of a plan.
MY EXACT COVID-19 PREP PLAN
Again, I’m not a scientist or doctor, and this is not medical advice. It’s just my personal plan. But it’s based on science, and it makes sense to me.
At worst, it falls in line with generally accepted guidelines for health in the absence of a pandemic. At best, it will reduce my chances of death and set me up to give the virus a good fight.
My plan is not even that hard to implement. I don’t smoke, so I get one easy win. That means I really only need to do a few things.
Here they are:
STEP 1: FITNESS
I’m going to work out four to five times a week for at least 30 minutes (and hopefully 60). I’m going to do strength training and conditioning programmed by a coach, and I’m going to train with online friends as often as I can for the accountability and motivation they provide. I’m going to supplement that training with a generally active lifestyle—I’ll dig the garden, walk my dog, stretch and toss the football around the back yard with my wife.
STEP 2: NUTRITION
I’m going to eat a lot of vegetables, reduce intake of processed foods, monitor fat intake and avoid added sugar. I’ll limit treats but still have them at times, and I’ll stop eating before I’m stuffed no matter how good the pizza is. With a plan in place, I know I can eat the “treat” foods I enjoy in moderation and keep moving toward my goals.
STEP 3: LIMIT ALCOHOL
I very much enjoy a good glass of whiskey, but I’m going to set limits. Alcohol is devoid of nutrition, and I don’t need it. But I enjoy it. So I’ll plan intake and monitor to make sure it’s not contributing to weight gain or poor sleep (see Step 4).
STEP 4: REST
I’m going to get enough sleep. It’s stressful right now and hours are long. But I’m going to bed earlier so I’m fresh. Sometimes that means I turn off Netflix before the end of the show so I’m ready to fire on all cylinders at 5:30 the following morning.
A WIN NO MATTER WHAT
Plan for the worst but hope for the best—I love that one.
As I said, the best part about this plan is that it has no negative side effects even if we manage to wipe out or control the virus. It’s not like building a boat in a desert and praying for enough rain to float it. The work I do here is an investment in health and quality of life.
Covid-19 is a threat, sure. But so are all the other health conditions this plan addresses.
Simply put, we could all benefit from a life plan that involves more movement and better nutrition.
If you need help with your personal plan, we can provide it.