Things for you to consider
As I mentioned, I am not an expert. No one in this industry is. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but no one reading this is likely to be either.
The experts on this subject are few and far between. Yet “expert opinions” seem to be commonplace.
One of the people I believe you could say is a true expert on the subject is Michael Osterholm.
In some regards, he actually wrote the book on the subject (having predicted this exact scenario years ago).
If you haven’t seen it already and want to hear someone who is truly informed talking on the subject, I’d recommend his interview with Joe Rogan https://youtu.be/E3URhJx0NSw
It’s lengthy and doesn’t deal exclusively with this subject. But the overall theme that we have to learn from this and that it is a wake-up call, is very powerful.
If you do watch, the first 10mins or so, in isolation, give a very depressing view of what is to come. Either watch it all or none, because he very much tries to demonstrate the seriousness of the situation first, but then breaks it down later. (ie pay attention, now I have your attention, here are the facts).
If you don’t have time to watch, some of the takeaways that are relevant are, this is not an “Old Person” issue. Yes, age is a marker that puts you more at risk. But the data for this is primarily coming from China. There, older males in particular, tend to smoke. And it is the smokers that have had the higher fatality rate. Older women in China are much less likely to be smokers and that correlates with the fatalities (ie there are a lot less of those affected dying from it).
Other markers include high blood pressure and the big one being obesity. Not so prevalent in China, but in the US and the UK, that’s going to be more of a concern.
He also makes that point that, many of the things we are being advised to do (use hand sanitisers, wash hands for 20 seconds, be careful with things we touch etc) are all useful for avoiding ill health in general. But in this instance, it will do very little. But still do them. Because being ill from something else AND getting this could then be very problematic.
That’s the same with things like drinking water, particularly warm water (and not iced water). It won’t ‘flush the virus’ as some people have suggested. But it will keep you healthier. Help you boost your immune system and so you will be able to fight it off better naturally.
And that is the bottom line, from what I’ve head from him, other experts and what makes sense based on every other virus out there. The best thing any of us can do is look to stay as healthy as we possibly can.
What to do
Again, I said I would not give advice on this virus. However, if the view is to keep your immune system high, look after your health and leave yourself in the best position possible to defend yourself from this if you do come into contact with it, the advice we have been giving via DCSfit and at Dynamic Core Studios has been on this path for our entire existence.
These are the ones that we feel we continually repeat, yet they get dismissed out of hand. Generally, they are seen as too simplistic and there has to be something more. But I feel much of that is because the priory of most keeps going back to how they look, rather than their health. So, something that looks after your health and well-being often gets dismissed in favour of something that will burn off fat quickly (regardless of the side-effects).
But being prepared to fight off infection is, as Michael Osterholm put it, down to a strong immune system. It doesn’t matter what the infection is. A strong immune system is always going to be a big factor in fighting it off.
So, these things are not just for this, but for life.
Get enough sleep
Lack of quality sleep is probably the easiest way to trash your immune system. That’s not total hours of sleep, but the quality of that sleep. So, passing out drunk for a few hours is not the same as restful sleep. Chemically induced sleep (ie via sleeping pills) is not the same as natural sleep. Falling asleep in front of the TV or whilst looking at your phone, is not going to have the same quality as falling asleep naturally in a completely dark room.
Again, I’m not going to go over old ground. There is a huge amount of detail available on how to improve sleep quality. The thing I’m looking to do here is push the idea of making it a priority, not an aspiration.
This should be much higher on anyone’s list than stocking up on toilet paper or hand sanitiser.
Drink enough water
Again, this is nothing new and is likely to be dismissed as ‘obvious’. But how many people actually drink enough water each day? Based on the data we have from interviewing hundreds of members and clients over the years, it is a very low percentage.
Every function in the human body requires water. There is not one exception. You need sufficient water to function properly. So, if you want to function at your best to do anything, including fighting off a virus, then drink enough water. And for anyone who is active (which should be everyone – see below) 2 litres is not enough. For most people 3-4 litres per day is going to be more correct. Even more if you are bigger in build (more of you to fill).
Particularly here, a strong respiratory system is crucial.
Our recommendations in this area are no different than at any other time. Maybe, if your goal had been to compete in a power-lifting competition or push for a bodybuilding competition or something extreme, then back off on intensity for a while. But ultimately, even in these pursuits, if you caught the flu or any other virus, you’d be out of the game for weeks and would only set you back. Your health and well-being comes first.
Doing simple things like going for a walk is obviously a good start (though if self-isolating, then that’s not going to be an option). But if you have not been infected, we are still going to be recommending things like resistance training.
There are issues here (going to crowded gym environments being a high-risk factor – but I’ll come back to that) however, keep in mind, resistance can be body-weight. You can use anything that has weight as a weight. There is always something you can do.
And if you are stuck at home, either through choice or through necessity, we’ve put together some suggestions you might consider for enhancing your ability to work out at home.
Click here to see the list
How we (at DCS) intend to help with this, I’ll outline in a minute.
This probably goes without saying. But again, we must go back to the approach many people take versus what is ALWAYS the better option. Too often people just look at calorie deficit, because they want to lose weight. Then come the shake-based diets or simply starvation. Or, if ‘bulking’ just cramming in calories, regardless of quality.
The argument of “it’s too expensive to eat healthy”, I hope has been given a little perspective from this.
Yes, for many people (too many people) this is a reality. But for those who make that claim whilst wearing £100 shoes, designer jackets, paying for extremely expensive concert tickets, subscribing to Sky Sports or heading out to the pub every Friday night, perhaps a re-alignment of priorities is now in order?
Without your health, nothing else matters. You can’t be there for your family, you can’t do your job and this is possibly the biggest wake-up call we’ve had to highlight this.
If everyone had bullet-proofed immune systems, this thing wouldn’t be an issue and all these public events would not be being cancelled, people wouldn’t be being quarantined etc.
The fact is, we don’t. And for those who do, you can still be a carrier to those who don’t. So, the “I’m alright Jack” mentality is not one that helpful right now.
Also, it seems to be a consensus that this thing came from animals initially and that, with many such viruses, poor animal farming and handling has led to many of the issues we are facing. Possibly not this one (again, not an expert) but possibly the next one.
I’m not on the vegetarian or vegan train (though my personal protein choices are limited to fish and eggs) but this is obviously another marker that pushes that ideal forward. My personal view is we are designed to consume meat and therefore, beyond your own moral beliefs, that should remain an option. Again, though, to in depth a discussion for here. But the pursuit of cheap at all costs (even the costs of the animals in question, and to the point where it becomes a health hazard) is clearly not worth the savings.
Therefore, health food sources, free range, organic and raw food sources are always the ideal starting point. Variety is also important, to ensure a full compliment of vitamins and minerals. So, a range of colours in your pallet, especially via vegetables, is of a high importance level.
Again, there are enough words here already. Healthy food choice information is everywhere.
All I’m suggesting is that the choices be based on fuelling your body in its entirety rather than starving it or similar.
And if you are stuck at home, now more than ever, it is worth considering services such as Halliday’s Healthy Dinners – Don’t forget to use DCS10off of a 10% discount on your first order.
Top Up Your Zinc
Another thing I’ve been preaching for a long time is the benefit of Zinc on the immune system. It is one of the few things shown to reduce the recovery time from colds and flus. The reason being, a deficiency in zinc (which most of us suffer from), can have a negative impact on our immune system.
If you start to feel run down, therefore, a boost of zinc could be helpful.
If red meat & shellfish are not part of your regular diet, you may want to look at supplementing in general. And using supplementation to boost your intake, for a few days, if you start to get ill, can massively help your recovery time.
One of the very first reports on dealing with the Covid-19 mentioned the fact that zinc was useful in fighting it off. So, just like any other virus, this seems to be a useful approach.
If you are staying active, I do suggest ZMA. But if not, zinc is the key element.
Important! Zinc within a multivitamin is not the same.
Consider making more zinc rich choices in your food and having supplementation on hand for a top up.
Click Here to Order Our Recommended Zinc Supplements
Manage Your Stress Levels
Although I said the number one way to trash your immune system is lack of sleep, in truth it is unchecked stress.
Probably the biggest cause of stress, for most, is lack of sleep. Hence why I put that at the top.
Ultimately, though, anything that causes unmanaged stress is going to have an adverse effect.
Everything listed so far is a stress. Lack of sleep, lack of sufficient water, lack of specific nutrients or lack of conditioning making your body work harder. But much of what causes us stress is in our heads.
This is a personal issue that I feel I’m constantly working on. When I wasn’t getting enough sleep, it was borderline impossible. But these days, I feel it is easier to focus on things and I’m feeling the improvements.
What I’m seeing, though, through the panic buying, the outcry regarding things beyond our control (the actions of other people’s “selfish” behaviours, the governments plans or historical judgement, ie what we ‘should have done’) is causing undue stress for many.
Ultimately, all we can control are our own actions and our reactions. And getting wound up, scared or frustrated is only going to add stress that will work against us rather than for us.
I’d suggest that everyone look to find something that will allow a quietening and stepping back to gain perspective.
Understand that we are all dealing with a situation that hasn’t been felt in our lifetimes (unless you were around during the last world war, in which case you have a lot more insight into human behaviour in these circumstances than I do). And anything new automatically creates fear and fear creates anger, frustration and panic induced actions.
(I tried so hard not to just quote Yoda directly there).
If we truly want to be civilized and work for the betterment of our community, then understanding that people are not always acting rationally, that their actions are borne from fear and therefore, someone grabbing all the toilet rolls or pasta and not considering those who don’t have the resources to bulk buy but who may need the resources more, is not being done on a conscious level.
We can chastise and shame them all we like, but it will only cause further pushback.
But what we can all attempt to do is to take the time to look at how we are reacting. How we are acting. And hope that, by improving on that level, that it spreads faster than the virus (and lasts longer).
So, find your release.
Use meditation apps or find something you YouTube.
Listen to music you know relaxes you or makes you feel good.
Or just find a space you can sit, uninterrupted, and be with yourself for 10 minutes. Breath and reflect. (If you don’t have a specific space, the toilet or shower could be a possible option – unless you have young children, in which case, you are going to need to ask for help).
Whatever you do, keep in mind, stress is your biggest enemy here, not the virus, not other people, but your own personal stress. And, though it can often not feel that way, you are ultimately in control of that.