2020 BC ( Before Covid)
How many things are we now referring to as Before Covid and Since Covid? For many of us, it is a line drawn in the sand.
Dining out, getting together with friends, dancing, going to live sporting events or school activities of your kids and grandkids, travel….
What are some things that have changed for you since 2020 BC?
Jan ( not her real name) was full of life, actively participating in the classes at a nearby fitness studio, and celebrating her 83rd birthday.
But then Covid 19 hit and just like that she was housebound, Without her regular workouts, she lost muscle mass and flexibility, quickly becoming frail and hunched over. The obvious decline worried her children so much they didn’t hesitate to send her back to the fitness studio she had loved so much.
“It was shocking to me to see that dramatic change in 10 months,” says Dr. Evan Osar, an integrative movement specialist who works with fitness and medical professionals on mobility, chronic pain, and other issues.
Without her regular workouts, Jan’s muscles had quickly atrophied and she was experiencing a host of physical issues that were negatively impacting her life. This, unfortunately, has become a worldwide consequence of the pandemic.
The problem is called sarcopenia – “a fancy term that means our muscles atrophy,” Dr. Osar explains. “It’s like
the old adage, if you don’t use it, you lose it – and that’s so true.”
It begins when we’re in our 30s
For our first 30 or more years, we gain strength and muscle mass. But then, unless we actively work to prevent it, we start losing muscle and function – as much as 5 percent or more of it every decade.
“By your 60s, you could’ve lost 9 to 25 percent of your muscle mass,” Dr. Osar says.
But, if you’re not an athlete or a bodybuilder, do you really need to be concerned about losing muscle?
Absolutely!. Losing muscle contributes to instability and ultimately falls and broken bones, with less strength and mobility we also have more difficulty with tasks of daily life. Less muscle also leads to less energy and stamina, more body aches and pains, poorer posture, and ultimately, less quality of life.
If everything you try to do is harder and takes more effort it stands to reason you will fatigue much more quickly and be able to do less and less.
As WebMD puts it: “Symptoms can include weakness and loss of stamina, which can interfere with physical activity. Reduced activity further shrinks muscle mass.” It’s a vicious circle, but one that you CAN do something about!
Muscle mass is living tissue that breaks down and rebuilds constantly. it is the way the body heals from injury and stays alive. Everybody loses muscle mass every day. If you are not actively building muscle you will decline. And this has become an all too real occurrence in the last year when so many of us stopped moving.
“And now we’re seeing people who haven’t left their homes for the last year, so think about how their health is deteriorating just in these last months,” Dr. Osar says. “A year after Covid-19 started, think about the obesity, the diabetes, the cardiovascular… let alone the sarcopenia.”
Exercise offers strength, relief, and balance
In short, without enough muscle, we won’t be able to enjoy life or even remain independent – from sitting and standing, carrying our own groceries and climbing stairs, to playing with grandkids, to riding a bike.
Resistance training is an essential part of the solution.
“Exercise, in particular resistance training, reduces injury and death across the board,” Dr. Osar says.
These are not just the words of Dr. Osar. Countless studies show this to be a simple fact. Exercising regularly with resistance will give you more strength, energy, and stamina so you can look good, feel good, and live better.
It really is that simple.
And after the last year we’ve all had, it’s never been more important. This pandemic has been a wake-up call. Due to Covid 19 we were forced to be housebound for quite some time. This enforced ‘time out’ has given us a unique opportunity to see into the future and appreciate all we stand to miss out on if we are not physically capable of getting out and about, and doing what we love.
Don’t let the year of things you missed out on because of covid morph into another year (or more) that you miss out on because you are unable to do what you want due to your health. We’ve all essentially lost a year of our lives waiting for the pandemic to pass. This makes it even more important time to enjoy life as much as possible. Get moving! I am here to help, no matter how active you were before or during the pandemic. I’ll help you build strength and mobility so you can make up for lost time.
It’s time to start writing your next chapter entitled Since Covid…..