The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.Mark Twain
You can live a healthier life. Yes, it’s up to you!
As we begin to think about the coronavirus exit plan, most eyes are focused on the state of the economy, personal finances, the stock market and restoring a sense of normalcy for businesses. And, of course, the finger-pointing is underway from every corner.
Yet, while the economy and finances will be significant, the center of attention will continue to point to health matters for years to come.
- Pharmaceutical companies will review where they get their drugs. During the outbreak, we learned that over 90% of drugs come from China, a number you can expect to change over the next decade.
- Stockpiles of personal protection equipment (PPE) will be addressed. Obviously, there was not nearly enough equipment to cope with COVID-19, despite mild chatter and bad choices by local, state and federal governmental agencies.
- Federal and state officials will likely establish a system to jointly work together, much like the intelligence community after 9/11.
But those aren’t the biggest takeaways from the COVID-19 event. What should catch the attention of officials who want to head off another event? Or what should be at the top of Americans’ list to prepare for life ahead?
To put it succinctly and directly, it’s the state of health of Americans. As we learn more about the effect of the virus, it is evident that people with underlying conditions are more susceptible than others. Yes, that includes the elderly, but that’s only part of the story. That underlying conditions are a factor in your health should not be surprising since diseases that leave you with a weakened immune system are absolute targets for the attack of a virus the likes of corona.
For example, Louisiana — my home state — has discovered that coronavirus deaths occur more often with patients who have one of those underlying conditions. While these numbers are changing daily and weekly, the percentages and similarities are tracking. The numbers may shift slightly, but the meaning will not: Underlying conditions have led to or have been a significant factor in many if not most coronavirus deaths.
Louisiana patients who died after contracting coronavirus were found to have various underlying conditions, including hypertension (66.4%), diabetes (43.52%), chronic kidney disease (25.1%), obesity (24.%) and cardiac disease (22.67%). Some may have not even been aware of their underlying condition.
What does this say, particularly to the people — like me — who have these underlying health conditions? You can change it! You can make a life-changing impact on your health. You don’t need the government, you don’t need a counselor necessarily, you don’t need a coach. And, guess what, just like your attitude, it’s not someone else’s fault!
While medical care will be debated and change as the coronavirus fallout continues, there are meaningful and consequential ways you can help yourself. Sure, some medical conditions are hereditary or come as a result of environmental conditions or job-related situations, but Americans must take their health into their own hands.
Yes, access to health care, even good health care, is a crucial focal point right now. Indeed, that is a conversation that needs to be on the table. That said, it should not and must not be an excuse or justification for not doing your part.
In a day with debilitating health circumstances, you must take action to improve and preserve your health. And, just like your attitude, you don’t have to wait on anyone else to begin the journey.
You aren’t alone. Elizabeth and I are taking action. Read Our Health, Our Story.
Start here, and improve or manage your underlying conditions.
- MOVE! I know exercise is a nasty word to some, but hey, you don’t have to run a marathon or climb a mountain, just move! Walk around the block, ride your bike, stretch, jog in place, work in the yard, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Just get the endorphins flowing. Start now. You will quickly find you have muscles in places you weren’t aware of…and that’s a good thing!
- DRINK! And when you’re finished, drink some more! Medical experts tell us you should drink half your weight in ounces of water. If you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water a day.
- EAT RIGHT! Look, you and I both know that a quarter pounder from McDonald’s or a chili cheese dog from Sonic is not doing you any good. You don’t have to go on NutriSystem to get better, but you can start by just eating your fruits and veggies. Depending on your current diet, this can be a huge challenge. But it’s a necessary journey.
- BETTER SLEEP HABITS! Yes, depending on who you listen to, you need 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Set a bedtime and stick to it. Getting a good night’s sleep is as important as anything you can do on this list!
- CHECK YOUR WEIGHT! Yes, this is one of those underlying conditions, but if you take care of the items above faithfully, this will also improve.
- MANAGE YOUR CONDITIONS. If you have one of those underlying health conditions, manage it well! Follow doctor’s orders, know your limitations, do the things you can do to improve your personal situation. There are steps you can take, in conjunction with your doctor, that will improve your health!
To be sure, I am not a doctor, a medical expert, or a fitness coach. But I can tell you what’s worked for me, what has worked for others and relate some of the expert information that has been discovered and proven by others.
The bottom line is this: Take charge of your own health. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you what you should do. Don’t be discouraged with a diagnosis or opinion of one of those health experts. And, don’t wait for a crisis to develop.
Consult with your doctor or your fitness coach or your medical advisor if you need to, but take the next step today.