Covid-19 crisis reinforces need to maintain healthy lifestyle – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Covid-19 has again underlined the need for a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise, nutritional diet, good sleep, weight management etc.
Doctors and experts say those following a healthy nutritional diet and exercise have better immunity to fight the disease even when they get infected.
While co-morbidities such as diabetes and heart disease have made people vulnerable even during the first wave, doctors are particularly concerned about obesity in severe patients this time as it also hinders proning — a crucial technique in managing oxygen levels even in hospitalised patients of Covid-19.
“During the second wave we are getting large number of obese patients and since the disease severity is more this time, managing such patients is challenging, particularly prone positioning is very difficult in such patients because the abdominal weight creates an obstacle in movement,” says Dr Ravi Shekhar Jha, Sr Consultant – Pulmonology at Fortis Escorts Hospital.
“A healthy life style strengthens an individual’s ability to fight the SARS-COV2 virus. Lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes and obesity increase the risk of hospitalisation, a severe course during hospitalisation and sadly mortality in Covid-19. Maintaining a healthy BMI, an excercise routine and consuming a balanced diet should be a part of everyone’s personal goals as we tackle the pandemic,” says Dr Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director at Apollo Hospitals.
While the body’s immune system acts as a defense mechanism that protects it from diseases and infections by attacking and destroying the invaders like bacteria, viruses, etc, factors like nutritional food, adequate hydration, good sleep and exercise are crucial in allowing the body’s immune system to work at its optimal level.
“Insufficient sleep, inadequate diet, stress, lack of physical activity, and hygiene are some of the most critical factors affecting the immunity system’s performance. Like any strong fighting force, the body’s immunity system requires good warriors who are bolstered when people follow a healthy diet, get regular sound sleep, indulge in physical activities, maintain good hygiene, and keep stress to the minimum,” says Dr Vinoda Kumary, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute.
Dieticians suggest foods like leafy green vegetables, berries, citrus, garlic and onions. Fruits high in Vitamin C and banana are also recommended for improving immunity against the virus. Experts also suggest light regular exercise to trigger circulation which in turn activates immunity receptors.
Stress and lack of sleep also adversely affects the immunity. The lack of sleep prevents the body from resting and impairs other bodily functions that will have a direct impact on immunity.

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