The COVID-19 outbreak has globally sensitized people to re-examine their health condition. We are stuck in a Pandemic situation with no vaccine to protect us from the virus to date. With only a few measures within our control to follow, improving our health and immunity are the only biggest weapons to guard ourselves against the Coronavirus.
Personal healthcare has suddenly risen into prominence since early research has shown that the most vulnerable people to get infected by COVID-19 are those with poor lifestyle and immune systems, and people with pre-existing health conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular issues suffer from severe coronavirus symptoms and are at higher risk of succumbing to the infection. This is turning out to be a situation of survival of the fittest.
Studies now show that people who are overweight and obese are at higher risk of dying from COVID-19, or have higher chances of being admitted to ICU. After examining existing studies, recent research has identified obesity as an independent risk factor which could cause serious trouble to young adult men and men who are under 60 years of age.
Why just males? Well, it’s about the overall distribution of fat in the body. Women carry fat differently, but when it comes to men, they carry visceral fat which is more concentrated in their abdomen area. Researchers also lowered the bar for the risk. Earlier, a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 was considered to be a risk, and now studies show a person with a BMI of 30 is at much risk as well.
These new findings follow a string of alarms rising from time to time, reminding us that Obesity is a severe worldwide health concern which isn’t addressed as much as it should be!
With morbid obesity hitting 5% of the Indian population, obesity is rising in epidemic proportions in India. In India, about 135 million people are obese, and globally around 650 million adults are affected by obesity. Complementing these outstanding numbers, approximately 2.8 million people are dying from complications resulting from being obese or overweight. In India, abdominal obesity is one of the major causes contributing to cardiovascular diseases and deaths.
Obesity and overweight are conditions which should be monitored and regulated right from childhood. According to The WHO, 340 million children and adolescents between ages 5-19 are obese or overweight, and 38 million children under the age of 5 are obese or overweight. This indicates that this much-neglected issue right from childhood is causing serious health issues for masses as obesity mostly gets carried into adulthood as well!
Obesity, which already causes restrictive breathing, makes it hard to clear pneumonia and other infections. Fat is an active source of pro-inflammatory chemicals that sets the body in a state of chronic inflammation. This is the general condition of an obese or overweight person. When Coronavirus kicks in, this pre-aggravated condition becomes much worse with severe symptoms, making it extremely difficult for the body to fight the virus.
Fat cells produce a hormone called Leptin, which regulates the cells that fight infection. Leptin levels are higher in overweight and obese people. This inflames the entire body, where immunity levels are compromised, and ultimately lungs’ capacity is reduced. When attacked by COVID-19, these elevated levels of Leptin weaken the body further, and hinder its ability to fight the infection in the lungs, and elsewhere.
Recently, British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson shared his struggle to fight Coronavirus given his weight problems. He urged Britons to lose weight as a critical tactic to fight COVID-19.
‘Obesity and COVID-19’ is a real issue. But, they are preventable and curable! Here are a few essential tips to fight obesity and coronavirus right away:
Your weight loss journey begins with exercise and leading an active life. For a beginner, focus on consistency rather than on intensity. We all must have heard of umpteen gym or workout stories where people work too hard in the initial days, later find it too challenging to keep up with work, and in the end,give up.
To avoid this, start your weight loss journey with moderate intensity, and maintain thorough consistency in your workouts. Slowly and steadily, you can increase your workout intensity. Exercising is the best way to boost your immunity, which is essential in fighting COVID-19.
For weight loss, you need to workout more to expend more energy to burn the fat. The number of calories you burn should always be higher than the number of calories you eat. In this process, you need to fuel your body with a high amount of protein to build muscle and remain healthy!
When we are aiming for a caloric burn, we should be focusing on larger muscle groups. Compound exercises do the best to hit these muscles because they recruit multiple muscles to perform these exercises, which will aid in higher caloric burn. Chest, thighs, buttocks, and back, form larger muscles in the body.
Focus on these compound exercises:
Bench Press (Dumbell/Barbell)
Shoulder Press (Dumbell/Barbell)
Pull-ups (can start with assisted pull-ups)
Weight loss exercises should be done in Super-sets/Giant-sets with 10-15 rep range, which will activate Type 1, 2a and 2b muscle fibres, which are ideal for muscle building and fat loss.
Perform Cardio workouts at least three times a week. Cardio ideally should be done on an empty stomach. You could either do it in the morning before breakfast or in the evening post-workout to get good results.
Incorporating High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) into your workout plan will catalyse your weight loss journey. The intense exertion induced during this workout will push your body to burn more calories and fat in 24 hours post-workout, which is far more significant when compared to regular cardio like a jog in the morning.
The most common complaint we hear about working out is that people don’t see results despite exercising regularly. One of the reasons for this could be a lack of a proper workout plan with a focused approach towards weight loss.
Our workout programs (anchor text) at The Fit Indian are structured with precision and specially customised to your weight loss goals, offering complete step-by-step guidance in your transformation journey. Book an appointment now! (Link)
Have 5-6 medium-sized meals a day. Fuel your body every 2½ – 3 hours. One of the biggest mistakes done during weight loss is letting the body into starvation mode. This will weaken you further, and you won’t be equipped for your next workout. Frequently supplying your body with essential nutrients, proteins, carbs, and healthy fats will keep you energetic.
Cravings are quite natural for everyone and you need not say no to your cravings. But, your cravings must be satisfied with delicious and clean high-protein meals. Carbs and healthy fats are your sources of energy, so don’t be afraid of them. They are crucial, as well. A permitted amount of Carbs and healthy fats will keep you in good health! One of the best ways to go about this is by having three meals with carbs and three meals without carbs in a day. Make sure you have complex carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa, oats, wheat roti, and sweet potatoes. Avoid simple carbohydrates and fast-digesting foods like Fruits with less fibre, white rice, white bread, and soft drinks.
This is an essential principle in weight loss. Your calorie intake should always be lesser than your calorie burning. You would be exercising to burn higher calories, and you would be eating in lower calories, doing this for an extended period of time will result in weight loss. Depending on your present calorie intake, it is usually advised to reduce your consumption by 500-1000 calories. Consult a nutritionist for informed guidance (Link to book an appointment)
Salad becomes an important source of raw nutrients and enzymes which helps you in breaking down the food. Therefore, it is advised to take salad twice a day, 20-30 minutes before your heavy meals, i.e. before lunch and dinner. This will help you feel half-full before meals, preventing you from eating in excess during your main meals.
This is an integral part of nutrition which could be quite irritating for beginners to cut these addictive elements all at once. One way to approach this would be to reduce the present intake of sugar and salt by half, and gradually decrease them further over a period of time.
Exercising well and eating healthy will boost your overall immunity. Aside from these healthy practices, you can incorporate these immunity foods which will keep Coronavirus at bay, while aiding your weight loss.
These superfoods include veggies like red bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, and Yogurt, ginger, garlic, turmeric, almonds, chicken breast, green tea, sunflower seeds, and papaya.
Different people with different body-types and various health conditions require different types of diets.
A team of 20 certified nutritionists designs our Nutrition plans at The Fit Indian. They are completely dedicated to providing personalised and customised meal plans according to an individual’s health conditions, requirements and goals.
If a person with any health condition (diabetes, heart condition, high cholesterol, blood pressure, or anything) is looking for weight loss nutrition, we can customise a suitable nutrition plan according to one’s health conditions, to help that person reach his/her health goal.
The fact about the current state of global obesity is that, in most of the cases, it can be improved and cured, starting with simple changes in one’s lifestyle.
Make these simple changes, to begin with:
Staying active and moving more
Saying NO to junk foods
Taking healthy supplements
Having a solid morning routine
Overweight and obesity are conditions at the core of various health issues and ailments. These conditions will make you even vulnerable to Coronavirus. Beginning your journey toward weight loss and a healthier lifestyle are the best Coronavirus tips, which will not only make you resistant to such infections but also enhance your quality of life to a great extent.a
The Fit Indian is such a One-Stop solution to make significant changes to your lifestyle. We help you with step-by-step guidance with complete workout and nutrition plans to make you reach your desired goal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is obesity a cause of concern for obese individuals?
Ans. It is a cause of concern due to many reasons. Obesity causes restrictive breathing and puts the body in the state of constant inflammation.
Q: Is obesity a risk factor for COVID-19?
Ans. Yes, obese individuals are at a higher risk of contracting this disease.
Q: Why are obese individuals more susceptible to COVID-19?
Ans. Due to a weaker immune system, obese individuals are more susceptible to virus attacks.
Q: How can people with obesity protect themselves?
Ans. Obese people can protect themselves by adopting a healthy lifestyle, exercising daily and following a healthy diet with the inclusion of immune boosting foods.
Q: What steps can be taken to manage obesity?
Ans. Increasing physical activity and making necessary dietary changes by maintaining caloric deficit play an important role in managing obesity.
Q: What exercises can be done to reduce weight?
Ans. Compound exercises with weights and body weight floor exercises done with high intensity (HIIT) are the most effective to lose weight.
Q: How can people with obesity boost their immune system?
Ans. By losing weight, exercising regularly and also following a balanced diet with the inclusion of immune boosting foods such as red bell pepper, ginger, garlic and turmeric.
Q: What lifestyle changes can be adopted by obese individuals to stay healthy?
Ans. Staying active and moving more throughout the day, avoiding junk food and saturated fats, exercising daily, following a low carbohydrate and high protein diet and staying hydrated are some lifestyle changes that may be helpful.
Q: What superfoods can be consumed for boosting immunity?
Ans. Garlic, ginger, turmeric, flax seeds, almonds, dates, lemon, oranges, green tea, nuts, yogurt, poultry (eggs and chicken) and beans can be consumed for boosting immunity.
Q: What type of carbohydrates do we need to consume in order to stay healthy and maintain an optimal weight?
Ans. Complex carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa, oats, wheat roti, and sweet potatoes are high in fiber and are beneficial for maintaining optimal weight.
Devi Gajendran is a Post Graduate in Nutrition (University of Madras, Tamil Nadu) and has tons of experience in Fitness and Nutrition. She is the chief advisor and full time contributor at the Fit Indian and has the final say on all the segments under the Fit Indian paradigm, such as beauty, fitness, home remedies, diseases, diet tips, weight loss, weight gain and so on. A foodie herself, she believes in the Hippocrates quote,” Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” A fitness enthusiast, she believes that the combination of diet and exercise can work wonders. When she is not sharing her valuable knowledge about food and fitness, she likes to spend quality time with her family members, do some healthy baking and listen to soft soulful music.
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