Fitness in times of Coronavirus : The Tribune India

Vishnu Venugopal

The mask you wear to shield yourselves against Covid-19 should constantly remind you about the importance of fitness in survivingthese dark days.

It is two years since the first Covid-19 case was reported in India on January 30, 2020. Over four crore people have already been infected and nearly five lakhs among them have died. These are the official figures. The real picture may be different, as we all know.

We have all seen how Covid-19 has changed our lives. So many of our friends and relatives and even we ourselves have gone through the disease and there have been deaths also. It is coming to us again and again inspite of vaccination.

We have also seen these past two yearsthat those among us who are physically healthy and fit recover from the disease without too much discomfort, whereas the unhealthy among us develop complications. It is simple to see that fitness assumes a multifold significance now. We can no longer afford to be complacent.

The masks we wear and the extreme care we take do not give us full protection from this highly infectious disease. Even the best medical attention we could get may not sometimes suffice. But very good physical health can help us efficiently combat the disease. This is a simple demonstrated truth.

If we look at ourselves, we can see that there isn’t a single moment in our waking hours nowadays when we are not conscious of the invisible threat of the pandemic, which is there wherever we go—the passenger trains, the grocery shops, the places of your daily activities and so on. One was wondering whether it is possible for us to be conscious about our physical body, its health and fitness, also in the same way we are conscious about the pandemic threat. It will then be a new awakening for a very large number of us who had hitherto given little attention to our fitness.

How do westart giving attention to our fitness? One would suggest first looking at your own lifestyles. Do you eat the right food, are you free from health-impairing habits like smoking andexcessive alcohol intake, do you have sufficient daily physical activity and do you sleep well? These are the four pillars of good health, so to say. Address these issues one by one and also together. If need be, take the guidance of a good fitness coach to put your system on the right track.

In my previous column, I had shared some thoughts about how toapproach the question of right food. The question of freeing oneself from bad habits such as smoking and high alcohol intakeneeds to be discussed separately. So also, the question of sleeplessness, though not from the perspective of an expert, but from that of a fitness coach whois familiar with trainees who are having the problem. This too shall be discussed in a subsequent column separately. I shall wind up this column by suggesting the following simple steps to ensure that you are having sufficient physical exercise.

1.       Use an activity tracker. Aim for 10,000 steps a day over time. But don’t be discouraged if you fall short. Start tracking and slowly raise the bar.

2.       Go for a brisk 30-minute morning walk, every day.This in itself would fetch you 3,000 steps.

3.       Do some basic mobility drills and stretches every day

4.       Explore a form of exercise that you would enjoy doing a minimum of 2-3 times a week. This could be body-weight exercises, yoga, exercise with a pair of dumbbells or even a dance class.

5.       If you are struggling to get started, invest in hiring a good fitness coach, at least to get you started.

 (The author is co-founder and Product head at Alpha Coach and writes a fortnightly column on fitness for




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