Among the many possible takeaways from our time during the pandemic, is a clear understanding of the importance of physical and mental health. The impact of the global pandemic on our collective mental health and our physical health through controllable lifestyle modifications have experienced a setback, one that has been progressively declining over the past several years.

We know that the development of metabolic syndromes such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease increase the risk of developing worse outcomes from Covid-19 infection. From the years 2011-2015, the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the 20-39 age group statistically increased from 16.2% to 21.3% in men and from 31.7% to 36.6% in women.[1] This has inarguably led to poorer health outcomes when faced with the challenge of Covid-19.

Working in an interventional pain center, I see patients with low back and musculoskeletal pain conditions that can often be traced back to many of the risk factors for the development of metabolic syndromes. Inactivity, sedentary lifestyles, and poor dietary habits form part of the negative feedback loop that contributes to the development of metabolic syndromes. I encourage my patients to invest time in themselves and in their health, and I try to offer some personal examples from my own pandemic experience. My key message is that physical activity is essential for overall health outcomes.

Of course, the pandemic and shut-downs have hindered exercise and fitness efforts. However, the fitness industry has evolved to provide multiple at-home exercise tools and options. See: How the Pandemic has changed where and how we exercise.

Dr. Nikhil Shetty, MD



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[1] Trends in the Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome. Jama 2015