September 2020- Can getting fit decrease your chances of developing COVID-19?

Can losing weight protect you from catching the coronavirus?

A recent article in New Scientist* speculates about the correlation between being overweight and the risk of catching COVID-19, as well as the severity of the illness if you do catch it. After the UK prime minister contracted the coronavirus, he suggested that people need to be concerned about more than just wearing a mask, washing their hands, and social distancing. In order to prevent the illness or cut down on how hard it hits, Boris Johnson suggests people lose excess weight. 

Is it as simple as that? Have no thin people perished from COVID-19? We all know that’s not true and that’s probably not exactly what the prime minister was saying. 

But is there something to losing excess weight beyond the appearance factor? Heck, we ALL want to look good! And sure, we all want to feel good too. But how often do we think about our weight when we’re sick? Can it really affect how often we get sick and how severe that sickness is when it comes around?

An article on the AARP website supports Johnson’s advice. According to physicians and researchers, many COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization were obese. Some of the weight-related reasons for the additional complications with the illness were cited as breathing issues and lower immune response.

Unfortunately, so many of us have experienced weight gain in response to the quarantine, whether it be from overeating, lack of activity, or stress. If you’re part of the “Quarantine 15 Club,” here are some tips to help get you back on track:

  • Try to reframe your thoughts about how you eat and how you move. Don’t focus so much on weight loss, but more on getting healthy to prevent getting sick. For some of us, it really hits home to make it our goal to get healthy and stay healthy so we can be there to take care of our loved ones.

  • As the weather is cooling down a bit, this is a great time to get outside and go for a walk. It’s especially helpful to walk after eating to encourage proper digestion of food. 

  • You don’t have to give up Netflix, but maybe just a little bit of the chill. Try doing some form of movement while watching your favorite movie or show. I’ve been starting my day jumping on a mini-trampoline while checking out some of the latest European series on Netflix. 🙂

  • Make it a point to have at least one vegetable with every meal. Throw some spinach in a breakfast smoothie, tuck some lettuce and tomato into your sandwich for lunch, and enjoy some vegetable soup with your dinner. 

  • Be kind to yourself. It sucks feeling fat! Try to ease up on the self-criticism and give yourself credit for all of the little accomplishments in your life. Realize that you are a beautiful person and you want to take the best care of yourself that you can. You know you deserve it!

Sending lots of love and peace!

*Wilson, Clare. “Get Fit to Stay Healthy?” New Scientist 247, no. 3292 (July 25, 2020): 16. doi:10.1016/s0262-4079(20)31274-4.

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Published by Tina Andrews

Hello! I am a content writer, proofreader, copy editor, and beta reader specializing in health and wellness content.

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