Were you ready?
Coronavirus caught many of us by surprise without anytime to prepare. When I say prepare, I don't mean having enough toilet paper. I'm talking about getting ourselves in better shape, being healthier. As of this writing, the pandemic is about to peak here in the US. So, why am I writing about getting ready for round two? Because it will happen and I want to be ready. I want you to be ready too. We've got time to prepare, but the sooner you start, the better. Most of us are overweight and out of shape. The CDC lists obesity as an underlying condition that puts you at high risk for poorer outcome from the virus.
Neither my wife, nor myself are overweight. We've been maintaining or goal weight for a good 15 years. But we're scared. Many of us tried to comfort ourselves thinking that only elderly were effected. The CDC's data shows that 20% of the hospitalizations are people age 20-44. This isn't comforting to me at all.
Weight loss without the extra benefits
I learned years ago, that you can be any weight you want with a complete absence of exercise. My wife and I are living proof of this. We could be 500 or 150 pounds by diet alone. People may think we're healthy or fit because we don't look overweight. We're not. When I lost 55 lbs, I was expecting to get back my energy and feel better. I read so many articles that said I will feel so much better when the weight is gone. I felt none of those benefits. I was still tired more than I should be and hated going up the stairs. I didn't have the additional energy I imagined I would. There's an obvious reason for this. Most people combine weight loss and exercise. We were missing half the equation.
And that's why we're scared. Neither of us are in the medical profession, but it doesn't take a doctor to know that the coronavirus attacks the respiratory and circulatory systems. Better lung capacity would certainly be a benefit. It's too late for some of us to be in shape right now, but it's not too late to be in better shape for round two.
Here's a word of caution. Fear is a great motivator, but only in the short term. Once everything returns to normal (and it will), the fear will be gone and we'll go back to our old habits.
Learn from the lazy
But why, would anyone take fitness advice from someone that's avoided exercise? It seems strange, even to me that I'd be giving this kind of advice. I'll let Bill Gates tell you why. He said, he would always "hire a lazy person to do a difficult job" at Microsoft. Why? "Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it."
So listen up, I may even be over qualified to be giving you this advice. I've never worked for Microsoft, but I feel he was talking about me. I invented a product that makes doing something that's not that hard to do, even easier. I invented it because I was too lazy to get my bathroom scale out of my cabinet every morning. I've always tried to find the easy way to do anything.
Then Coronavirus changed my mind. We need to get in shape if we want to have a better chance at surviving this. I'll let you in on the secret to the lazy person's way of getting in shape. Big changes happen by making small, I mean very small, easy, sustainable steps over time. This is especially true when it comes to losing weight and getting fit. What you need to do is start simple and get some easy wins. Trying to do too much, too soon, leads to burnout and quitting.
My wife and I have already started our path to being prepared. We both started out with very small, easy to do distances on our hardly ever used elliptical. Going .1 miles felt kind of silly at first, but it was exactly what was needed. Getting in shape is no different than dieting. It's not something you do for a short burst. If I'm to stay in shape or maintain my weight, I have to keep doing this. Forever.
Do I want to run on an elliptical for 2 hours a day, everyday? God no. That's not sustainable. This is a negotiation we all have to make with ourselves. How fit do we want to be? I did this same thing when I lost weight. While I was losing weight, people would ask me what my weight goal was. I didn't know. I said I'll know it when I feel it. I doubt I'll ever do more than a mile at a time on the elliptical. I prefer to increase the resistance on the machine and try to do the same distances faster. Work harder for a shorter time. You need to negotiate your level of fitness with yourself. We'll know it when we feel it
This is something you can do. I call losing weigh and getting fit "the hardest, easy thing to do". There isn't a technically difficult step in the entire process.
You can do it!
I hope you decide to lose weight and get in shape too. With coronavirus looming, this might be a life and death decision. It's hard, but it's not impossible. You just have to keep them up. I promise, if I can do it, you can too. Start out with small, easy steps
I started getting in shape out of fear, but fear isn't why I'll continue. I'm actually feeling better. I do have more energy. I've been sleeping better too. I'm not sure if this is a common side effect, but I almost always remember having a dream or two each night. Prior to exercising, it was rare that I remembered dreaming.
Fear started us exercising. Feeling the benefits will keep us going. Forever.
Coronavirus caught most of us unprepared. Are you going to be unprepared when it comes back?
Brian Wood is an engineer and inventor of UpScale. He and his wife, Lisa are owners of The UpScale Scale. He enjoys using computers, home automation and inventions to maintain their health and simplify their lives. You can connect with Brian on LinkedIn.