In the last several days there has been increased concern about health and the spread of coronavirus. This is a great opportunity to get back to what we really want to focus on at Freedom Fitness: our health & wellness.
I know everyone under the sun is talking about what to do because of the coronavirus outbreak locally. I have been asked a bunch lately about what we can do to stay healthy. I actually think about this a lot because this is often a particular concern for me, especially when I was younger.
I myself have underlying issues that actually puts me at risk for this particular virus, as I have had a lifetime of autoimmune problems which has led to me have severe asthma and respiratory issues. My lungs are my Achilles heel, so I am more aware of my health now than usual. (Plus, last time there was a major viral outbreak, I got the Swine Flu, which was terrible.)
My autoimmune and respiratory problems are actually the reason why I got into health & fitness. I have used exercise & nutrition to keep myself healthy, and that is my passion for my members. So, I have some tips and ideas that I use and have been telling my family.
We are always at risk of getting sick in one form or another in our country – whether it be the flu, autoimmune conditions, cancer, or cardiovascular disease (the actual leading cause of death in this country), which can lead to stroke or heart attack.
Now, we can’t prevent everything, but we can do a lot of things to help reduce our risk. There are always illnesses circulating around us, BUT, we can do lots of things to help prevent ourselves from getting sick. Always check what the CDC, local health officials, and your doctor have to say about keeping healthy and what’s going on with their latest information. But, there are short-term and longer term things we can do to try to stay healthy, especially at the gym.
There are some basic, easy things you can do anywhere to prevent from contracting an illness, like the flu or a cold, especially when at the gym.
First, always wash your hands.
Okay, that’s an obvious one that everyone keeps saying, but when I’m at the gym and I’m using equipment or helping people, before I touch my face or eat food, I wash my hands. It’s more effective than using hand sanitizer if you use soap and wash for them for 20-30 seconds with a good lather.
I need to remember to do that before using my phone and computer, so I’ll work on that, too. We just need to remember to wash our hands more frequently and to do it effectively!
So, after your workout, wash your hands for a good 20 seconds.
This is also always good to remember in general when we first get home or get to work, or wherever you have access to a sink, after you have been to the store, pumping gas, handling money, etc.
And, if you don’t have access to wash your hands, hand sanitizer is a stop gap until you can. It’s not as effective, but it’s better than nothing.
And finally, if you are sick, there is no need to come to the gym – you’ll only make yourself feel worse and take longer to recover, while also exposing others to your illness. I don’t know how many times I’ve had members over the years come to the gym while sick and say they want to “sweat out” whatever illness they are fighting. This does not work. Until you are over the contagious symptoms, just take a rest and come back in when you are feeling better.
Okay, a lot of this stuff you’ve heard before, but I was just putting it in context of the gym. BUT there are other things you can do to help improve your health overall, which puts you in better fighting shape when exposed to illnesses.
Eat lots of veggies, leafy greens, healthy fats, and resistant starches.
They are packed with the vitamins to help your immune system. Fill yourself up with leafy greens every day and you’ll be filled with a great source of Vitamin C.
Take Vitamin D3 every day.
Most Americans are deficient in Vitamin D, which is necessary to help your immune system. Especially in the Pacific Northwest and this time of year, we really don’t get enough sun. You can get your D levels checked to see how much you need, but I take 5000 IUs of D3 daily and so should you.
There are other supplements that can help boost your immune system.
A lot of people use garlic for their immune systems and swear by it. There is a compound in fresh garlic that is produced when it is crushed or chopped called Allicin. This compound has many wonderful health properties, but is also known to help boost your immune system. If you don’t like garlic (or can’t eat it fresh), you can also get an Allicin supplement.
Many people also swear by astragalus to keep them healthy, especially during cold & flu season.
I personally also take extra high doses of Vitamin C at the beginning of feeling illness symptoms and find this really helps. I take 6000mg on day one of symptoms and 3000mg a day for the next 3 days.
I know other people who swear by zinc and andrographis supplements.
So long as you check with your doctor, these are low risk supplements that myself and others have found to help boost their immune system.
You might have others that you swear by. Let me know! I love to hear what works for others.
Getting enough fluids is essential for health, and you’d be surprised at how many people are dehydrated when they come in to the gym. I could go on about good quality water, but that’s a whole other topic. Just make sure you are drinking a full glass of water with each meal and as well as throughout the day and after you exercise.
Try to limit your stress and get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
I know these two can be difficult – I am a small business owner with two young kids, so I know how it’s not always easy to do both of those. But, stress and sleep deprivation is not only bad for your health in the long-run, but also leave your immune system more susceptible to getting sick.
I have personally used exercise, meditation, & journaling to help with stress levels, which then helps with better sleep.
Of course I had to add exercise! If you are feeling fine, then stay active. Getting moderate to intense exercise at least 30 minutes a day helps your heart, gives you endorphins to feel good, and boosts your immune system. I could go in greater detail what daily exercise can do for your health and immune system, but that is also a whole other email. Trust me, daily exercise is essential to staying healthy.
All of these tips can help you ward off coronaviruses, flus, colds, and so on, but also, in the long run, they can also help you ward off certain types of cancers and heart related problems. Most Americans die of stroke & heart attacks, and heart disease, in the majority of cases, can be prevented and reversed.
So, let’s use this opportunity of trying to keep ourselves healthy during this coronavirus outbreak that has everyone worried, and use it to help us stay healthy and feel good overall!
Committed to your health,
Drew deVry – Freedom Fitness Gym