March 4, 2020
In light of the growing public-health concern about coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to share what we know about this illness so far, and what Life Time has been doing to prioritize your health and wellness. With that in mind, I specifically want to cover the following topics:
- The most up-to-date information about coronavirus and its overall impact to date.
- What you can do to help prevent illness and stay healthy.
- What Life Time has been doing to help keep members and team members safe.
1. What We Know About Coronavirus
The coronavirus is a novel respiratory disease that has been spreading globally since late 2019. It presents a threat due to its newness, its contagiousness, and the lack of a vaccine or a clear treatment plan. The World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Public Health Agency of Canada, and local health officials are the trusted sources for the most accurate information, as well as updates on the status of vaccines and treatments (which are in development).
It’s important to note that coronavirus’s health risk to date appears to be comparable to that of influenza. The CDC provides the following data about the preliminary burden estimates of influenza for the 2019–2020 season in the United States (October 1, 2019–February 22, 2020), which are contrasted with current burden estimates of coronavirus globally:
Influenza (United States)
*Data updated as of March 4, 2020; Source: New York Times.
Based on the data so far, it’s worth noting that children do not appear to be more susceptible to coronavirus than adults. In fact, no deaths have been reported among the young. Additionally, based on existing cases, it’s estimated that about 80 percent of people who are affected experience mild symptoms.
Unfortunately, coronavirus may live on certain surfaces at room temperature for several days. This, along with its rate of contagiousness, make it unlikely that the virus can be contained. And because its symptoms are similar to those of influenza, it initially may be hard to know if they are indicative of coronavirus or another illness.
2. What We All Can Do
Stay informed. It’s important to process the considerable information we’re all receiving in a balanced and thoughtful way. With that in mind, worrying or panicking in response to the overwhelming amount of information can create stress in the body, which is known to compromise immunity. The CDC provides a comprehensive overview of “What You Should Know.”
Boost your immune system. Now more than ever, it’s essential to prioritize our health and well-being, and do all you can to boost your immune system so you’re as healthy as possible, in the event you encounter this virus. Research shows that sustaining healthy habits supports immunity and can help prepare our bodies to better fight and recover from illnesses, including coronavirus. These include:
- Stick to a nutrient-dense, toxin-free diet, including known immune-supportive foods like garlic and ginger. Avoid foods that tend to weaken the immune system, such as sugar, refined grains, industrial vegetable oils, and processed and refined foods, as much as you can.
- Get plenty of sleep, ideally seven to eight hours a night. This is your body’s time to perform preventive maintenance, which bolsters the immune system. Research shows that repeatedly short-changing sleep by even an hour or two can negatively affect immunity.
- Get plenty of sunshine and supplemental vitamin D + K2. High levels of vitamin D have long been linked to lower rates of illness.
- Consider taking additional vitamins, micronutrients, and supplements to support immunity, such as a high-quality multivitamin, magnesium, omega-3 fish oils, vitamin C, elderberry, and digestive enzymes. Probiotics and powdered greens have also been shown to support immune and gut health.
- Get at least 20 minutes of low- to moderate-intensity exercise a day to prime the immune system. This movement results in the production of more white blood cells, which combat bacteria and viruses, and promotes improved circulation.
Practice good hygiene. These habits include:
- Wash your hands frequently, and for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water to protect yourself and others from germs.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Keep your hands away from your face, because germs routinely spread when a person touches something contaminated with germs, and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
If you begin to develop cold- and flu-like symptoms or become ill, take care of yourself and minimize the spread to others by staying home. If you think you may have symptoms of coronavirus, call your healthcare provider immediately.
3. What Life Time Is Doing
At Life Time, we are monitoring the evolving situation and following the guidelines of the CDC in all of our clubs and work spaces to keep our members and team members safe, and our spaces clean. This includes:
- Increasing our cleaning protocols using products such as Purell Healthcare Spray, which has been found to be effective against viruses such as coronavirus.
- Adding more Purell stands throughout our clubs for your use. Your partnership in this effort is welcome, and you’re encouraged to use the sanitizing wipes that are provided to wipe down all equipment — mats, benches, free weights, cardio and strength machines, etc. — before and after you use them.
- Asking members to please refrain from visiting the club if they’re not feeling well, as is always the case when it comes to illness, for their own good and the good of others.
- Having plans in place should the need arise in any of our communities. We are meeting regularly to refine and update those plans as new information becomes available, and to continue learning as much as we can in order to make informed decisions.
While there is still more to learn about coronavirus, our intent in sharing this is to provide current and accurate information about the situation, and to offer pragmatic steps we all can take to keep our ourselves, our family and friends, and our communities healthy and safe, while minimizing panic.
We all have a responsibility to do our part to limit the spread of this virus and other illnesses, especially to those at a higher risk due to age, compromised immunity, or pre-existing conditions. Additionally, by doing as much as we can to stay healthy ourselves, we support the healthcare providers who will be caring for those in greater need when it becomes necessary.
Your health and happiness are paramount to us at Life Time, and we are committed to monitoring the situation, communicating openly with you, and doing anything we can to help with this situation and anything else that comes our way.
Thank you for your partnership.
Founder, Chairman and CEO of Life Time – Healthy Way of Life
Sources of Information: