Who would think the Coronavirus would come along and change our lives so drastically? Well, frankly…most experts in the fields of science and medicine did. But us average, everyday Americans? Not so much. Obviously, COVID-19 and the ramifications of a deadly pandemic have changed our lives in ways we never could have expected. And with Winter almost upon us, more cases being added across the nation in unprecedented numbers and a vaccine still not in hand, it is inevitable that this very serious health crisis will get worse before it gets better. So…what to do?
Although I have, perhaps, painted a bleak picture, I feel very optimistic about an eventual, effective vaccine on the horizon for early 2021. In the meantime…and always really…we need to become and keep ourselves healthy, fit and engaged with life. Somewhat of a challenge with so many gyms closed and with the requirements of physical distancing. But still very possible if we think outside the box a bit! In study after study, regular exercise is shown to be one of the best ways to improve our health, reduce stress, minimize the effects of both acute and chronic illnesses, improve our blood pressure, lower our bad cholesterol, improve our strength and stamina and better our quality of life overall. And it’s not just the physical benefits we derive from regular exercise!
Numerous studies have also noted the very positive effect that regular exercise can have on both our mental and emotional health. Most of us have heard about how exercise pushes out endorphins…the feel good stuff our body produces. Beyond that, regular exercise is shown to also improve our mood, make for better sleep habits, help lower stress levels, improve our sex lives, relieve depression and give us an all over better, healthier self image. A great workout can start your day off on the right foot…and it can end a tough day at work beautifully! But…just how do we manage to get that great workout in during this very challenging time?
A good friend one time long ago said to me…”Ted, the solution is simple. But it’s not always easy.” I cannot tell you how many times I have remembered and relied upon these words to center and motivate myself. The solution to getting in a good workout during this pandemic is to simply start. It means…just get up off the couch and move. That’s it. Simple, right? And yet, we all know that’s not always easy. We may lack motivation. We may be full of pandemic fatigue. Irritable. Overweight and cranky about it. Depressed. And we may not have anywhere to go with gyms and other fitness facilities closed or partially shut down. There are hundreds of reasons why you may not feel or think you are able to exercise right now. And I get it. There are some pretty reasonable and seemingly valid reasons not to be motivated. Unless I can help you discard the excuses by providing you with some excellent, totally doable, common sense ways to simply start.
And I can!
First, you’ve got to realize and accept that you are the answer you seek. Hmmm? Yep. You. What I mean is no person or thing is going to come along and make you want to improve your life with exercise. No one is going to make you decide or do it for you. You’re in charge. You. Deciding to invest in yourself with regular exercise is what I like to call ‘an inside job’. As with so many things in life, there needs to first come a change of thinking about ourselves to affect change. And if you can’t change the way you think and feel about yourself on your own…ask for help. A competent therapist or a friend who will listen can both be great assets in viewing ourselves differently. Join online support groups. Call and talk to folks who will support your fitness goals and will make helpful suggestions. Comb the internet for exercises and activities you are attracted to. Pick up and read books and magazines that help to motivate you. Do whatever it takes to get up off the couch and get moving. You, my friend, are so worth it!
Now, more than ever, is the best time to eat right! And by right I mean eating in a way that helps you attain and maintain a healthy weight, feel better and support your body’s immune system. You must eat to live…rather than live to eat. Did you get that? Certainly, I want you to and you should enjoy your food. But put it’s nutritional value and health benefits first and foremost. You can always make healthy eating taste great. I promise!
And last. Here’s the what to do part.
Many gyms are closed. It’s hard to find weights and exercise equipment. There’s no exercise classes. And on and on. We must deal with it. We must get a little creative. I suggest…get a bike. Buy some resistance bands. Start walking outdoors with a friend or on your own. Join a physically distanced exercise class or group. Scour garage sales for used fitness equipment. Start jogging. Play some volleyball regularly. Do some yoga. How about good old push ups and pull ups at home? Or most anything else at home or in your back yard or your extra room? Get a Peleton. Fill up some water bottles and use them as weights. Start swimming. Water aerobics! Golf. Tennis. Pickle ball. And…well. You get my drift! ❤️