These are trying times, not just for Americans but for the entire world.  Since the first outbreak was announced in February of last year, many businesses have been shut down, and fear and uncertainty have placed millions at home, affecting most people’s mental, emotional, financial and physical health.

With many gyms compromised or closed right now, having a home gym is becoming more of a reality. Society is trying to figure out how to stay active and avoid couch potato syndrome. Yet, many complain of increased weight, getting out of breath easier, and becoming mentally exhausted from it all.

Whether you are young or old, those at higher risk include people with compromised immune systems and chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and COPD. 

The answer to staying healthy during a pandemic is education, awareness of your surroundings and building a stronger immune system.

Exercise is the key to boosting your immune system, and by exercise, I mean MOVEMENT. It helps to manage your weight, reduces or prevents disease, builds strong bones and improves balance and mobility.  It also reduces stress and anxiety, improving both mental and emotional health.

Some of the exercises I recommend right now include swimming, hiking, running, cycling, yoga, Pilates and functional weight training. Do your best with what is available to you, but the key is to keep moving. There is nothing worse for your immune system than stagnation! Sitting at home, putting on weight and living in fear can all create a poor immune response and negatively affect your health. Mask up, get out of the house and relish in some vitamin D and regular exercise.

Eating healthy meals at home, including vegetables, lean meats and healthy fruit, will help build stronger immunity, as will supplements like vitamins C, D and zinc. Sleeping eight hours a night and clearing negative thoughts from your mind through meditation before bed helps control your mental and emotional stability.

We are all in this together. There is no timetable for stopping COVID, but having positive thoughts, keeping physical distance, wearing your mask and building a strong mind and body can go a long way in not only preventing COVID but setting a strong foundation for a healthier lifestyle.

Michael Butler is owner of Kinetix Health and Performance Center in Palm Desert. He holds a state license as a physical therapist assistant, national certification of distinction through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a strength and conditioning coach, and a Poliquin International certification as a Full Body Active Release Techniques Practitioner. He can be reached at (760) 200.1719 or [email protected].

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