THE coronavirus pandemic is set to continue until such time when a World Health Organisation-endorsed vaccine is found, which could be at least 18 to 24 months away. In the meantime, we have to protect ourselves by following the government’s mantra to practise social distancing, wash our hands with soap regularly and wear a mask when we go out.

I believe that one pertinent aspect that has been missed (or that has not been given the emphasis it deserves) is on building up our immune system by leading a healthy lifestyle. For now, our immune system must adjust unassisted to this deadly enemy until a vaccine is found. So can we not give serious attention to boosting that system?

Under the new normal, our lifestyles have to be modified to be healthier to reduce the risks of contracting Covid-19. How do we do so? Besides exercising, eating healthy food, reducing stress and having a good night’s sleep, we must break unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol.

I have no doubt that every single Malaysian adult knows all of the above.

But knowing is one thing and putting it all into practise is a daunting challenge requiring discipline, effort and time. For instance, we all know the incredible benefits of exercise, which can improve nearly every aspect of our health – including increasing the production of hormones that make us feel happier and help us sleep better – and yet, most of the time, we are unwilling to commit time and effort to exercising. Or we continue to indulge in excessive drinking or eating junk food.

Healthy individuals can keep Covid-19 away if they keep themselves in good shape by staying active and positive.

Physical good health can also help mental faculties. It has been medically proven that the mind and body are intrinsically linked. Seniors, for instance, can thwart or postpone the onslaught of dementia if they stay healthy.

Even after Covid-19 is long gone, just as the onslaught of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2003 disappeared, the threat of another novel coronavirus looms. So let’s be prepared by continually staying strong and healthy. Let’s do whatever is necessary to ensure that our immune system is in the best shape possible. As the saying goes, “God helps those who help themselves”.

Let our overall health, energy and vitality shine through. We should make “fit and healthy” our fashion statement in the new normal.

POLA SINGH

Kuala Lumpur



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