Yes, it snowed this weekend. Yes, the days are getting shorter. Yes, it’s getting colder. But now more than ever I ask each of you get outside more!
I have incessantly talked about the health benefits of physical exercise and time outside to the point that I sometimes receive an eye roll in return when talking about it. As I said, though, now more than ever we need to make an effort to get outside more!
Several studies indicate that physical activity is beneficial in fighting COVID-19, according to a review and examination of the connection between exercise and the body’s ability to defend against the virus that was recently published.
In the article titled, “Physical Activity May be a Major Deterrent of Severe Health Consequences from COVID-19: An Annotated Summary of Physical Activity and COVID-19 Research,” eight studies were discussed that show that physical activity reduces the risk of increased complications as a result of the virus.
One of the articles discusses how an extracellular enzyme, extracellular superoxide dismutase (EcSOD), is an antioxidant agent. Antioxidants are substances that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by unstable molecules the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures.
Research indicates that endurance exercise increases EcSOD activity.
While that specific enzyme may not specifically target the Covid Virus, it does help one’s body become stronger in its defense of infections.
People who have contracted the virus who have health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, respiratory problems, obesity and compromised immunological systems, have substantially higher complications, including death. This is especially true of obesity.
The healthier you are, the better your chances are of not experiencing terrible effects from the virus. Younger people are more physically active than older people and it may be a prime reason why COVID-19 does not affect the young as much as the old.
Even in the snowy, windy, colder conditions that show up in October and November, it is very important to stay physically active, even if you are sheltering in place at home. Don't begin to develop negative behavior practices that decrease your fitness level, and don’t use it as an excuse to not begin some sort of exercise routine, even if it seems insignificant. Right now is a great opportunity to begin a physical activity program that you have been intending to begin, even it it’s only 15 minutes.
If you truly don’t know where to begin, I suggest simply going outside and walking 5 minutes in one direction. If you’re not “feeling it”, then turn around. You’ll have been outside and exercising for 10 minutes. Congrats!
If you feel, after those first 5 minutes, of moving a bit longer, go for it! Add another 2 minutes to your walk, then turn around. Again…moving your body outside in the fresh air is making you healthier and more likely to stay healthy despite any virus you may come in contact with.
A recent study just came out of the university of Wisconsin and it looked at infection rates in high-school athletes. The group of 14-17 year-old with the lowest level of infections were those kids that were in sports, and in school. The highest level of infection rate was among the kids not in sports, and not in school. Even if it’s only an hour of practice once or twice a week for those kids, that time in sports mattered! Exercise and outdoor time matter!
In closing, I want to remind you to control what you can control. Get outside, even if it’s only 10 minutes. Fresh air will do wonders for your body and your soul.