We LIVE for stories of perseverance, grittiness, and determination. We hear them all the time from racers in our community, but we also love to report on inspirational and informative stories from OUTSIDE the Spartan Universe — stories that we can learn from, that can help us become even more unbreakable. In Tough News, we share what we're hearing and what's grabbing our attention, and why Spartans need to pay attention.
There are no sure bets against COVID-19, but inactivity can worsen the odds of a good outcome.
The research on the disease is still evolving, but one of the latest studies revealed the important role of physical activity in fighting it. Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the far-reaching study looked at nearly 50,000 people infected with the disease to determine just how detrimental sedentary lifestyles are to achieving positive outcomes.
The findings? Those who have been physically inactive for the last two years or more were much more likely to have severe reactions. This means that these patients were more likely to require hospitalization and intensive care treatment, and also to die. The only other risk factors that increased the likelihood of severe COVID symptoms were advanced age and a history of organ transplantation. Of all the lifestyle risk factors in your control — smoking, high blood pressure, or obesity — inactivity could play the biggest role in disease outcomes.
To spell it out, sedentary patients were more than twice as likely to require hospitalization than their most active counterparts. They were also 73 percent more likely to end up in intensive care, and two and a half times more likely to die from the disease.
Members of the Spartan community, then, are a significant step ahead of the game.
Choosing to Be Active
Completing a Spartan event — whether it's traditional OCR, a Trail race, a DEKA event, or a team-based Agoge — is only possible with an intense dedication to physical activity. Getting up early in the morning to log miles on a trail or carry some heavy loads in the gym is part and parcel to being a Spartan athlete. Even a day off from training will likely bring with it an easy walk with the dog or time in the yard playing with the kids.
Athletes have long known these good habits can help fight a variety of ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. Now there’s positive proof that your dedication to physical activity can pay off in the battle against COVID, too.
Choosing to Fuel Your Body Well
To date, there’s no hard data that anything you eat can specifically ward off COVID. (It's caused by a virus, not a lifestyle.) But, there is research that supports the importance of sound nutrition in strengthening the immune system. In other words, your good Spartan eating habits boost your immune system so if you are infected with the coronavirus, it can give you a better chance at fighting the symptoms.
Choosing to Persevere
As a Spartan athlete, you are dedicated to physical activity, and also dedicated to seeing it through — whether during training or on race day. Those same skills kept you active and training throughout the pandemic. Whether embracing the Spartan Tough Toolkit, putting a race on the calendar for this summer and prepping for it, or simply staying fit in spite of lockdowns and isolation, your Spartan dedication means you are in fighting shape.
COVID can be a worthy — and even deadly — adversary. And even with vaccines, it’s going to stay with us into the future. Now, however, you’ve got proof that your Spartan lifestyle will increase your odds of a better outcome should you become infected.