Rethinking Preventative Health and Wellness in the Covid-19 Era
Covid 19 has changed the world. My frustration is that while this is a serious virus, the media, along with our national, state and local officials, have done little to promote and talk about the steps we can take to improve our own health and immune systems, RIGHT NOW! There certainly is talk about the increased risk of death and a more extreme case of Covid-19 if you have the BIG 3 underlying health conditions of obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease. But where is the talk around how to reduce or reverse the likelihood of getting the Big 3?
We hear that preexisting conditions such as obesity, heart disease and type 2 Diabetes increase the likelihood of a more severe case or death from Covid-19. The prevalence of these 3 is also what makes America so unhealthy, and I believe causes the ever increasing and often out of reach costs of health care (which I call SICK care). Plus, these conditions can often be reduced or reversed with better nutrition and exercise. So why isn’t diet and lifestyle having a stronger voice right now? It’s frustrating the only solution the media expresses to end the pandemic is holding out for the hope of a safe and effective vaccine. While we do all hope for that, we can’t afford to wait. Our country needs to get healthier NOW!
We all know that we will be wearing masks, social distancing and practicing extra hygiene for a long time.
While that is a sound plan, in addition to these common sense safety measures, (or more caution for those most vulnerable), we must have an honest conversation around achieving better health outcomes now and in the future, that focus on our diets and lifestyles to reduce the risk of these underlying health conditions and to provide more health equity. We need to reverse the increasing percentage of our population that keeps getting the big 3 and put our country on a better course of health.
My vision, is that instead of a country with unbearably high SICK CARE costs, and an increase risk of dying from Covid-19 from the Big 3 underlying health conditions, (exacerbated from eating too much sugar, processed foods and bad fats/oils, I have a vision of a healthier America that prioritizes preventative WELL CARE.
Let’s talk about these 3 major conditions and how we can take it upon ourselves to do better and hope our actions inspire others in our lives to get healthier too.
Obesity rates are rising. The prevalence of obesity in 2017-2018, according to the CDC National Center for health statistics, was 42.4 %. That’s almost ½ our population which is obviously dangerous. According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health) obesity and overweight together are the second leading cause of preventable death in the US, close behind tobacco use. An estimated 300,000 deaths per year are due to the obesity epidemic. In addition, in 2018, 7 states had obesity rates over 35%. No state in 1985 was over 15% and no state in 2000 was over 20%. This has become a huge issue my friends.
Our healthcare costs are out of control because so many of our citizens either can’t, or won’t take the time to make nutrition and health a priority. As a result, our country is dying from preventable and reversible diseases, which are the same underlying condition that are making Covid 19 so deadly. Hardly anyone, (other than a select few like Bill Maher and Dr. David Katz among others) are talking about our ability to be healthier merely from an improved diet and exercise.
We all have different bodies, and I believe you should love the one you live in, and society should value beauty in all shapes, sizes and colors, but too many of us are dying young from obesity and we don’t have to.
Type 2 Diabetes
The Mayo Clinic explains Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin. Exactly why this happens is unknown, although genetics and environmental factors, such as obesity and inactivity, seem to be contributing factors. Jan 9, 2019
- Type 2 diabetes can be reversible through diet and exercise and I have seen this for myself from folks who practice my yoga, but you can do any yoga or any exercise that works for you.
- Type 2 diabetes – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic
- www.mayoclinic.org › symptoms-causes › syc-20351193
The Mayo Clinic describes Heart Disease: “The term “heart disease” is often used interchangeably with the term “cardiovascular disease.” Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. Other heart conditions, such as those that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or rhythm, also are considered forms of heart disease.”
Many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices.
Nutrition & Exercise
It’s confusing why our nations focus isn’t really addressing the life changing (and saving) benefits that come from simple diet and lifestyle choices. Especially considering the length of this pandemic could be 2 years or more – do you realize what 2 years of proper diet and exercise could do for the body, and if those habits are adopted, forever? These conditions can be reversed, and without any side effects. If there is a pill that truly helps someone, great. Instead of only looking to prescriptions to solve all your physical problems, try to look at the root cause of a problem, which often can be helped with stress relief and better nutrition/exercise.
Let me tell you what this blog post is not!
This is not a video with quick fix ideas, miracles pills or 6 pack ab tricks. I am not trying to sell you anything or promote any specific dietary lifestyle. This is a blog post about how everyone can make better choices in their nutrition and how any amount of exercise will provide benefits to reduce these 3 major risk factors.
This is not meant to be a political conversation, but I am confident that starting this practical conversation is meant for anyone who is open to talk about how we can make our country healthier and move away from the ongoing and increasing health crisis in our country that is only making this pandemic more deadly.
I think having a healthier society is good for red and blue states, and really shouldn’t be a political issue. I also realize that most of the folks who will read this blog post are members of my community who already live a healthy lifestyle and understand the value of prioritizing health and wellness in their life. So, I hope you will all share this post with those who might need a little more encouragement. I also hope our local, state and federal governments will make Public Service Announcements to support this as well.
I also have many big ideas that I believe could be done one day with public/private partnerships in creating Wellness Centers that allow a true preventative well care system to expand and offer equity to everyone in our communities. I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole right now, but I want to write a blog post that not only lays out problems but also offers suggestions to solutions.
As part of my commitment to offering accessible ways to move and stretch, I have offered some FREE videos on my yogival.com website that offer 5-10 minute All Access Stretch and Strength classes that anyone can practice at home. Feel free to share them with anyone who might benefit from starting to move their bodies from home.
Whenever our local, state or federal government is ready to work on solutions, I am here! Let’s start having these conversations by pushing our politicians to creating a healthier country by offering preventative diet and exercise as a way to heathier and more productive communities. Then we can all thrive instead of just hang on and survive. I have added my common sense ideas that anyone looking to live healthier can start with.
YogiVal’s 10 Common Sense Nutrition Choices to Make Right Now
1. Drink more water
2. Avoid sugary drinks and putting sugar in your coffee and tea
3. EAT WHOLE FOODS-ESPECIALLY VEGETABLES AND FRUITS
4. Avoid Processed foods, those foods in the center of the grocery store, they are loaded with added sugars, salts and chemicals that don’t provide much nutrition
5. Make sure you eat fiber rich foods, which helps you move your bowels daily or more – YOUR DIGESTION IS A GREAT INDICATOR OF YOUR HEALTH
6. Eat as many foods in their natural forms and avoid sauces/packages salad dressings and other salt/sugar sauces that just add unnecessary sugar, salt and calories
7. Move your body and get your heart rate up to help keep your weight in a healthy range
8. Add simple body resistance moves likes planks and pushups to add strength
9. low down when you eat so you know when you are full and that you don’t overeat.
10. Take the time to plan lunches, snacks and meals so that you eat something every 4 hours or so to help keep your blood sugar regulated thus avoiding becoming ravenous or “hangry” that you over eat or shove unhealthy foods into your body.