Fitness Builds A Hedge Against SicknessQ: Hey Rabbi, hope you’re well. I recently read an article and heard a podcast that said the people who are out of shape and have chronic health conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, etc., are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than people who are in shape. Is there truth to this? If so, why?




A: Hey Coby, thanks for writing in.

The short answer is an emphatic “yep!”

Why is this so? Fitness is not just about looking good or greater athletic prowess; fitness is a hedge against sickness. What that means is that if you take all the measures of health, such as blood pressure, body fat, resting heart rate, cholesterol, bone density, etc., as well as all the measures of fitness such as your one-rep max deadlift, mile time, max reps pushups, etc. and plotted them for your cohort, you would see that they fall along a spectrum. The fittest people should have all their health and fitness markers toward one end of the curve and the sickest people will have their markers at the other end of the curve, with the majority of the population somewhere in the middle. Genetic differences aside, people do not just magically end up on this curve. This curve, our fitness and health, is a direct result of lifestyle choices. The sickest tend to not only suffer from over-consumption of refined and processed foods but also tend to be more sedentary. The fittest tend to eat better and move more and make other choices that positively affect their health and fitness.

The current health field is not trying to make us well; it is trying to keep us not sick. Our goal at Rabbi Fitness is to move you as far to the fitness side of the continuum as we can - not so you will go to the CrossFit games or be the best athlete around, but to improve your health and quality of life.

If you are sick, you need a doctor (aka a lifeguard). If you find out your body fat, blood pressure, cholesterol, and other markers are starting to trend down, but do not require medical attention, you need qualified personal trainer (aka a coach).

By taking basic steps with your nutrition and training habits, you can move away from sickness; and the farther you are from sickness on the continuum, the harder it will be to get to sickness. Building your fitness builds hedges against sickness. A body fat of 35% or higher is closer to sick than well. If you have a body fat of 15%, it is going to take a lot to get to the 35%, so you have created a 20% hedge against sickness.

If you are near the “Fitness” side of the continuum, in order to shift to “Sickness” you must first pass through “Wellness.” If you are near “Wellness,” there is no hedge to “Sickness.”

Our goal at Rabbi Fitness is not to give you a heavier squat or a faster 5k time; that is just a byproduct. That being said, if our squat gets heavier, 5k time decreases, our number of burpees in a set time improves, and the number of pushups in a minute increases, our health markers (blood pressure, body fat, HDL, etc.) will also move in the right direction. Our goal is to improve your health and quality of life over a long period of time so you are able to enjoy all that life has to offer.

You don’t have to be fit to start training and eating better. Training and eating better is how you get fit.

Continued “shteigen” ?(growth)

Rabbi Fitness

Hershel Praeger


Want to start your journey towards fitness and away from sickness? Text RABBIFITNESS to 41259 for a FREE 1-on-1 Personal Training Consultation! We’ll discuss your goals and the challenges that have prevented you from achieving or maintaining them. From there, you’ll learn exactly how to achieve success despite the challenges that seem to keep getting in your way!


The information provided contained in this article is for educational purposes only. Rabbi Fitness LLC is not a doctor. The contents of this article should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any health problem– nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health and/or engagement in physical activity, especially if you (or your family) have a history of high blood pressure, heart disease, or if you have ever experienced chest pain when exercising or have experienced chest pain in the past month when not engaged in physical activity, smoke, have high cholesterol, are obese, or have a bone or joint problem that could be made worse by a change in physical activity. 

Here at Rabbi Fitness, we’re all about helping you be your best self, developing healthy body and habits which allow you to operate at your peak performance. We specialize in boys and men’s health. Follow us on Instagram for daily doses of chizuk and loads of valuable content. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.