As the world is engulfed in the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to band together to most effectively deal with this crisis. My deep concern goes out to anyone who has been adversely affected. The information we’ve received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other organizations, is important for us to employ. Recommendations regarding hygiene tactics, temporary social distancing, and infection containment procedures should be observed. I’ve also compiled a short list of suggestions for our athletic community that may be of benefit.
- Make sure everyone around you, and in your circle, has what they need to comply with the appropriate recommendations. Do whatever you can to help friends or family members who may be older or immune system-compromised have what they need to be safe. Food, supplies, and the knowledge that they can ask you for help is an essential reassurance. Let’s do all we can to support our tribe.
- Get as much sleep as you need, and maybe a little more. When you are well-rested, your immune system is more powerful. Exposure to a pathogen will statistically result in less severe infection for those with high-functioning immunity.
- Now, perhaps more than ever, is the time to eat the most nutrient-dense diet possible. Avoid junk, fast, and processed foods which can increase inflammation and dysregulate metabolism. Place an emphasis on whole, fresh, natural foods and be cognizant of any autoimmune trigger foods that your body is sensitive toward. Nourish and fuel your body to be resistant to insults including viruses.
- Keep your training going, but back off the volume and intensity a bit. You want to maintain fitness and conditioning, but you don’t want your training workload to be too high right now. High workload training can be valuable in an overreaching phase to force adaptation in the body, but this can make you fatigued and immunosuppressed. Light to moderate training will increase your resiliency. Don’t push too hard or long because doing so can result in an increased susceptibility to infection. And since you probably won’t be at the gym or in a group fitness class or team practice, it’s a great time to use virtual training aids like Strava, Peloton, Zwift, or others.
- Do your best to manage stress. Just like you optimize your workouts, do the same for your work, relationships, and schedule. Find the Goldilocks amount that keeps you energized but not exhausted. All these lifestyle factors work together and now is the time to achieve your greatest balance. Get some extra parasympathetic breathing or meditation into your life.
- Accept that your season or goal event may be postponed or cancelled. Unfortunately, major change is necessary to attempt to protect public health. You will do well to rethink and reprioritize your focus or periodization model until things settle down. Trying to force an agenda is an unproductive endeavor at best and can result in unnecessary frustration.
- Maintain a positive attitude. This isn’t “Pollyanna” talk here. Things will eventually get better. Take it one step and one day at a time. Getting enraged or despondent over this pandemic can actually impair your own health in the process, as prolonged or excessive negativity will alter hormones and neurotransmitters. Just try to be reasonable.
That’s all I’ve got. The basics aren’t sexy but they certainly do work. This is no joke. I’m totally serious when I say the above things can make you Hard to Kill. Hopefully we’ll see expedient and successful resolution of this worldwide tragedy. Until then, preserve your health and immunity as best you can…and help others to do the same.