Digital Exclusive: Fitness can help fight COVID-19

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – While a COVID-19 vaccine is still in the works, people are working for other ways to fight the virus.

Dr. Michael Piplani, Chief Medical Officer of the Siouxland Community Health Center, said having regular exercise is a good start.

“Regular exercise helps you deal with the coronavirus much better and have a less severe course with the disease because it helps reverse metabolic problems. It’s metabolic problems that cause the virus to take advantage of your body,” said Dr. Michael Piplani, Chief Medical Officer of the Siouxland Community Health Center.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, physical activity is critical to health outcomes and an essential component of weathering the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Piplani said some of the best exercises people can do include yoga, running, and strength training.

“All of those exercises burn off the sugar in your body. When there’s too much sugar, that’s when the immune system can’t respond well to the coronavirus,” said Dr. Piplani.

But Jay Todd, owner of JT Training, said the exercises depend on what stage of life a person is in, and how active they already are.

“They should be hitting a cardiovascular component, you know, getting the heart rate up for an extended period of time. Another way of increasing cardiovascular activity is by doing what we call a metabolic blast. So, you’re not only strengthening that heart, the lungs, and all of the muscles as well, but you’re increasing that cardiorespiratory endurance to make the lungs stronger,” said Jay Todd, owner of JT Training.

Other exercises people can do to help fight COVID-19 include are bicycling and weightlifting.

“Weightlifting not only increases the muscle tone, which muscle burn calories 24/7 but they also make the lungs stronger. All of those muscles that we use to inspire and expire are also getting stronger with training. That can be done through a cardio style or through strength training,” said Todd.

Exercise can also help improve your mental health by lowering the stress levels.

People who had COVID-19 will need to speak to their primary care physician before exercising.

For more on the American College of Sports Medicine’s research, click here.

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