Q Hi, Rabbi Fitness - with this crazy year of the pandemic and people getting sick, I keep hearing that some people are at more of a risk than others. I, like everyone else, want to emerge from this craziness in full health. I know everything is up to Hashem, but I want to know what hishtadlus I need to do in order for my risk to go down. Thanks!
A Hi, Dov! That is indeed a question that is on the forefront of everyone’s minds lately. We all want to be healthy, so we can give our all to Hashem, our family, career, etc. Of course, it is all up to Hashem in the end whether we are healthy. That said, Hashem tells us, “v’nishmartem m’od l’nafshoseichem - and you shall take great care of your souls.” We are required to do our best to maintain a healthy physical body, so we can engage in service of Hashem in the best possible way.
While there are many risk factors in regard to COVID-19 that we have no control over, there are some that we do control, and we have an obligation to do our part in mitigating our risk. High blood pressure is one of those risks, which exercise can lower greatly. How are high blood pressure and exercise connected? Well, regular physical activity makes your heart stronger, and a stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort. Because your stronger heart now requires less effort to pump your blood, the force on your arteries decreases, thereby lowering your blood pressure.
Another major risk is obesity. Obesity can cause many health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, gallbladder disease, breathing problems, and back pain, just to list a few. Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 30. This problem is more prevalent than you think. For example, Chaim, who is 5’10 and weighs 210 lbs, is considered obese and is subject to a host of health problems. He needs a major overhaul of his life.
And yes, while some people are more easily susceptible to weight gain than others, that does not mean we can say, “fuhgeddaboudit it, my body gains fat easily - I’m not even going to try to lose it; it’s hopeless!” even though I am sure that many of you just want to throw in the towel after trying so many different fad diets. Don’t despair! All it takes is steady, consistent work, and over time your body will change into something you are proud of! Long-term changes require long-term solutions, meaning you must change your habits and your lifestyle, and you are not going to have to constantly start new diets (which BTW do not work long term to keep the weight off. Google “yo-yo dieting”)!
So, what do I do?? The journey of 1000 miles begins with your first step. Even simple cardio and calisthenics (body weight) workouts will do you a ton of good in progressing toward your new and improved body. In fact, we have created a beginner’s program for you with all the basics of nutrition that will help you start on the path to a better you. Keep an eye out for that - and please contact us for a free consultation & assessment session. That will provide you with a good starting point for you to begin.
The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. Rabbi Fitness LLC is not a doctor. The contents of this article should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any health problem– nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health and/or engagement in physical activity, especially if you (or your family) have a history of high blood pressure, heart disease, or if you have ever experienced chest pain when exercising or have experienced chest pain in the past month when not engaged in physical activity, smoke, have high cholesterol, are obese, or have a bone or joint problem that could be made worse by a change in physical activity.