The coronavirus crisis has become the “new normal,” and so far, local leaders are using the strategy of imposing social distancing restrictions to contain the spread until a cure can be found. But even in the best-case scenarios, developing a vaccine will take a long time — if it’s possible at all. And there’s no way to know how effective it would be. Given this, we need to prepare for an unpleasant potential outcome: the threat of COVID-19 might be something we’re living with for a long time.

While we can’t control our access to things like testing and vaccines, the good news is, we do have one incredible remedy within our power: our personal health. Here are the key takeaways of this post:

  • There is no guarantee that a vaccine for COVID-19 can be developed, and we should prepare to live with it for the long haul.
  • So far, the data shows that healthier people have largely avoided experiencing complications from COVID-19.
  • To date, many Americans have been resistant to living a healthier lifestyle. Will the threat of COVID-19 be the impetus for society to make this important change?

We’re still learning about COVID-19, but so far, one trend is clear: People with chronic health conditions and/or weaker immune systems are the most likely to experience coronavirus-related complications, while people with healthier lifestyles and without these conditions are the least likely.

In fact, research shows that 96% percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations had a pre-existing condition and the most common were high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes — and these conditions are typically caused by lifestyle choices such as lack of exercise, poor diet, high stress levels, drinking alcohol and smoking. By comparison, among healthy people, even those who do contract the virus may never even know they had it; testing of the abnormally healthy population of sailors aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt crew, for example, found that fully 60% of its 600 infected sailors were asymptomatic.

The bottom line? Your personal health is a key factor in your risk of complications from COVID-19.

Despite sheltering in place for weeks or months and widespread concerns about combating COVID-19, it seems most Americans aren’t willing to make the lifestyle changes needed to truly fight the virus. Many would rather take a pill, get a shot, go under the knife or remain on permanent lockdown than live a healthier lifestyle.

But the dangers of poor lifestyle choices go far beyond the coronavirus. Obesity and physical inactivity have proven to be two of the most dangerous conditions yet:

  • Despite, or maybe because of, our relatively high standard of living, America has the highest obesity rates of any country in the world: Over 40% of Americans are obese, a number that has actually increased 40% the past two decades.
  • A shocking 80% of Americans still don’t get the recommended amount of exercise, despite one in 10 deaths being linked to physical inactivity.

Relying on our bodies’ natural defenses is an effective way to prevent COVID-19 complications and many other health conditions. Living a healthier lifestyle will strengthen our immune systems and improve our chances of beating this terrible illness while we await a vaccine, if there is one. COVID-19 is a global pandemic that has cost trillions of dollars  and changed the way we live. Whether we can make a change for the better by choosing healthy living is the challenge our society must face.

Flow Fitness can help you create a custom exercise and nutrition program to help you reach your goals and provide the support you need.  All can be done virtually as well.