Since COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic back in March, US citizens have been instructed that staying home was the best means to avoid contracting the virus. And, along with social distancing when out, and the wearing of a mask, it does seem to work to some effect. However, what many do not realize is that life lived in confinement can cause a whole host of problems in and of itself.
Science has shown that being confined and housebound, for any extended length of time, will not only cause the body to contort but can weaken the heart and lungs, along with impairing brain function. There is also the belief that these effects may very well stay with most individuals well beyond the end of the pandemic—whenever that may actually be.
Data shows just how much and what type of effect six months of confinement, along with a sedentary lifestyle, will affect most individuals.
The first effect is that of muscle loss. A week of being at home, whether you are working or not, can lead to inactivity that may work to undo previous hard-won progress. What takes months to build up, your muscle, takes one week for most individuals to lose. And, what may appear to be the loss of bulk, is in fact, the loss of muscle strength. The key takeaway is that “the stronger we stay, the easier it is for us to maintain our longevity.”
The next effect is that your heart and your lungs get weaker. If you are not moving or exercising, you are not raising your heart rate. When you are not forcing your heart to pump harder, it will, in turn, become weaker.
This same principle applies to your lungs in that if you are inactive, you are not expanding them as thoroughly or as often as needed. Those individuals with poor lung function are considered more susceptible to getting COVID-19, as it is a respiratory based illness. The key to a healthy heart and lung function lies in exercise.
The final effect is that of gaining weight. If you are home every day, all day, then you are sure to have easy access to your pantry. As such, the term “COVID 15” has come into play, meaning that fifteen extra pounds that many of us are gaining from staying home.
There is also the fact that at the beginning of the pandemic, many individuals rushed to stock up on foods that were nonperishable in case of any future shortages in the food supply chains. The problem is that the foods they bought proved to be high in both sugars and starches, as well as being highly processed.
Will staying home and confined lead to reports of more and more health issues for many individuals?