By Katelynn White
NASHVILLE, TN— Regular physical activity throughout the years has been connected to good health by doctors and personal trainers. Since the beginning of the pandemic, health officials have continued to stress the importance of exercising.
“You can’t change your risk factor of advanced age — unfortunately — but you can increase your physical activity and decrease your risk of contracting severe COVID,” said Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez, a physiatrist who serves on the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Inclusion and Engagement Committee and as director of the post-COVID recovery clinic at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
She believes that exercising is medicine. She emphasized that having well-functioning baselines in the body could help a person that is infected with COVID.
“To put it simply, exercise is medicine. If you have a better baseline cardiac and pulmonary function — as you would expect from someone who meets physical activity guidelines — then it stands to reason you can better withstand the stressor of COVID-19 that impacts many-body systems,” Verduzco-Gutierrez said.
Moderate-intensity or vigorous-intensity physical activity can reduce the risk of a person getting Covid. Physicians are not the only health care providers that have stressed the advantages of physical activity.
Tara Smith, a certified personal trainer, is dedicated to helping her clients develop the best version of themselves through good health. Smith owns a training studio located on Mountain View Road in Antioch.
She became serious about maintaining good health after suffering a personal loss in her family. “I lost my father to colon cancer. He was overweight most of my life and did not have the best eating habits. Who knows how much longer I could’ve had him had he been healthier?” Smith said.
She encourages people to exercise during the pandemic to help boost their immune systems. Smith explained the advantages of physical activity for a healthy life and the detriment to the body from an unhealthy diet.
“Exercising in fact boosts your immune system. This is important because it increases blood flow and makes your antibodies stronger. It’s very important to maintain healthy eating habits; there isn’t enough exercise in the world to compensate for a bad diet,” Smith said.
She believes a person should commit to 20 minutes a day to exercise. In severe cases of trying to build a healthy lifestyle, a person may need to increase their time, which benefits their body more. She believes that learning how to train the heart and lungs is beneficial and can be done through multiple exercises. But each person should check with their primary physician before starting an exercise routine.
Going for a walk, a run, or doing jumping jacks can help a person boost their immune system and gain good health, Smith added.