A thief in the night has taken our peace of mind! Before COVID-19, we were confident in our medical system's ability to rescue us from any healthcare crisis. As common as this once was, it's no longer how we think about our health. COVID-19 has magnified the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Something we knew all along. The healthier our bodies are, the more disease-resistant they are. This new reality places the strength training lifestyle front and center. For the record, all health agencies recommend strength training as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Those who have suffered the most from COVID-19 have been adults living with underlying health issues, otherwise known as comorbidities. Comorbidities are the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases or conditions. A good example would be someone with heart disease and diabetes. Comorbidities can occur by chance or due to the presence of risk factors, which is more often the case. A risk factor is anything that increases the risk of disease. The two most common risk factors in America are a sedentary lifestyle (i.e., a lack of exercise) and a poor diet.
Fortunately, the strength training lifestyle can prevent risk factors from occurring while improving your body's ability to fight degenerative and infectious diseases.
A review of 146 studies published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine reports that strength training has the potential to prevent and reverse chronic disease.  The authors summarize the benefits of strength training, stating that it improves everything from your bones to your brain! In Body by Science, Dr. Doug McGuff makes a compelling case for why strength training is the best type of exercise. With benefits like improved cholesterol profiles, lower blood sugar reduced blood pressure, and improved arthritis symptoms, everyone should be strength training. 
In 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published the first edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAGA's).  These guidelines served as a call to action, recommending that all adults should strength train. Ten years later, the PAGA's were updated to include adults in their nineties. In other words, if you're alive, you should be strength training!
Getting more adults to strength train will help minimize the damage COVID-19 is currently having on our nation. Achieving this will require a shift in how we think. First, everyone needs to realize that Evidence-Based Strength Training can prevent and, in some cases, reverse chronic disease.  And second, we need to prioritize the health benefits of strength training, instead of big biceps. It's healthy bodies that drive a healthy economy. Scientists have been calling for a simple approach to strength training that emphasizes health for years. 
Fortunately, the 1% Rule improves health in little to no time by focusing on three evidence-based principles.  First, train your entire body a couple of times per week. Second, work out at a high level of effort (i.e., intensity), and third, train progressively (gradually increase the weights you are lifting). Embracing the 1% Rule will give us the health benefits we need without leaving room for excuses. In other words, you'll improve your health by investing less than 1 hour per week.
Getting more adults to apply the 1% Rule will benefit millions of Americans at risk for COVID-19 infection and complications. It will also go a long way towards restoring your peace of mind!
1. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. July/August, Volume 4, Number 4. 2010.
2. McGugg, D, Little, J. 2009. Body by Science. McGraw-Hill books.
3. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, Second Edition, 2018.
4. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. July/August, Volume 4, Number 4. 2010.
5. Westcott, Wayne., Ph.D., HIT Resurgence Conference, Minneapolis, MN. 2012.
6. Medicina SportivaMed Sport 15 (3): 147-162, 2011DOI: 10.2478/v10036-011-0025-x
MEDFITNESS is a Strength Training Studio specializing in Small-Group Training. To schedule a Free Trial Workout call (630) 762-1784 or visit www.medfitness.co. Richard J Wolff: www.linkedin.com/in/richardjwolff.