The recent spread of the Coronavirus is having global impacts across many spectrums of life. While the disruptions to our daily lives can be frightening and frustrating, there are many lessons we can learn from this event. The question is whether or not we as individuals, communities, or as a nation are willing to change.
This isn’t the first time the fear of death from a virus has gripped this country in recent years. But viral outbreaks should not be what keeps us up at night. Our response to the death toll of coronavirus is vastly out of proportion to our response to the leading cause of death in the United States: heart disease. The comorbidity factors (additional factors that make a person more likely to die from the disease) for the coronavirus are obesity, heart disease, respiratory disease, and old age. These comorbidities are the same for many other diseases and with the exception of old age and a small minority of cases are lifestyle diseases, i.e. diseases of choice. It would seem as though we are willing to play Russian roulette with our health as long as we are the ones that get to load the gun and spin the revolver and not mother nature.
We are now seeing the community impacts of COVID-19 as events are being cancelled and people are heading to the grocery store to hoard supplies. The fact that they are hoarding soft drinks, high sodium canned goods, and other highly processed sugary foods is another notch in the belt of irony of this health scare. We all know that a person’s health and fitness is a major factor in their life expectancy, COVID-19 or not, but now we are seeing how a person’s health and fitness affects the lives of those in their community. One major concern is our health care system’s ability to handle a large viral outbreak. In a country with such staggering levels of obesity and the diseases consistent with poor lifestyle choices, how do you handle an influx of viral cases when beds, nurses, doctors, and other resources are already close to capacity dealing with our diseases of choice?
In a time of crisis, is your health and fitness an asset or a liability to yourself and those around you? If a tornado like the one in Nashville took out your neighborhood and your neighbor was trapped, do you have the strength to lift up a heavy piece of building material to save them? Would you be able to throw them over your shoulder and carry them to an ambulance that couldn’t get through all the fallen trees? Could you put in 12-14 hours of manual labor after the event helping those in need? Do you have the mental and emotional fitness to handle tough physical challenges?
As concerning, if not more concerning, is the impact on the global economy from this virus. But, if we’re being honest, we have always had a bit of a strained relationship between money and our health. As a country we spend more money on fitness clothes than we do on actual fitness. The largest gym chain in the country passes out pizza and tootsie rolls regularly. We commonly justify expenses like streaming services, Amazon purchases, and financed fancy cars while wanting to have a discussion of whether or not a person should be financially responsible for their healthcare, yet we are unwilling to have a conversation about whether or not a person is personally responsible for pursuing health and fitness.
When the smoke clears, we will be faced with challenges and questions. We will be given a chance to learn and grow. NBS Fitness has always held the belief that the pursuit of health and fitness is of high value, that it is a virtuous pursuit and that we need more individuals to treat it as such. For those of you who have already joined us in this pursuit, we will continue to lead the way. Our friends, neighbors, and family members need people willing to reach out and show them a better path forward. For anyone who hasn’t taken the leap, we’re here to show you the way. We’re here to ensure your health and fitness become an asset and not a liability.