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  • Writer's pictureClaire Harrison

Could your weight put you at greater risk of Covid-19 complications?

According to research almost two-thirds of adults in England are living with excess weight for their height with similar figures in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. That means around 35 million UK adults aged 18+ are either overweight or obese. It’s well known that obesity leads to certain medical conditions such as diabetes, stroke, cancer, liver and cardiovascular disease, but research by the Public Health England* also associates obesity with an increased risk of severe complications arising from COVID-19.

Whilst the current evidence is based on a small sample, the evidence consistently suggests that compared with those of a healthy weight, overweight or obese people with COVID-19 are at an increased risk of serious complications and even death.

The evidence has been drawn primarily from three sources: retrospective cohort studies, clinical audits of patients with COVID-19 in hospital, and routine primary care records. Even taking into account demographic and socio-economic factors, the risks seem to increase in line with an increase of BMI above the healthy weight range. You can work out your BMI by using the NHS calculator.

The stigma experienced by people living with obesity, may also form part of the problem. Their reluctance to interact with health care professionals causes delay in treatment which may also contribute to increased risk of severe complications arising from COVID-19.

The benefits of weight loss could mitigate the severity of COVID-19. Even a modest 5% reduction in weight can have great benefits to your health, reducing cardiovascular and osteoarthritis related problems. In individuals with pre-diabetes, for every kilogram of weight lost there was a 16% reduction in risk for progression to diabetes.

At its simplest level, obesity is caused by consuming more calories than the body uses which over time results in excess weight being gained. It’s estimated that on average adults in England are consuming 200-300 more calories than they should each day.

Studies have shown that dieting makes up 80% of weight-loss – exercise only makes up the other 20% – so there’s no getting around eating a healthy diet if losing weight is your goal.

The recommendation is “start low and go slow” by starting with lower intensity activities and gradually increasing frequency and duration of the activity. It’s a good idea to spread out aerobic activity over the week, rather than cram it all in over a couple of days each week. That often leads to burn out and a lack of motivation to keep going.

Exercise such as Gyrotonic is about more than just exercising your body. While Gyrotonic exercises are great for flexibility and increasing strength and blood flow, each session also offers mental health benefits such as relaxation.

Because of the mental and physical benefits the Gyrotonic system offers, people who regularly attend will often begin to start making better nutritional decisions for themselves – and so bringing their health full-circle.

If you are suffering with your weight or mobility problems and would like to find out how Gyrotonic exercise could help, please get in touch. To source classes near you go to and if you live in Brighton, give me a call.

*Information for this blog post has been taken from:

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