Though COVID is no joke, I’ve heard a lot of jokes lately about the quarantine fifteen… pounds. Throughout the pandemic, tons of people have gained weight and lost muscle tone.
The Challenge of Pandemic Fitness Routines
Early in the pandemic, gyms closed. When the NBA was shut down, even professional basketball players had to start working out at home.
I know that many of us rely on gyms, classes, or personal trainers to stay motivated. At home, it’s so easy to stay on the couch. Nobody’s keeping track of me except myself.
Motivation can also be tricky when I’m seeing fewer people. One common motivation for staying fit is the desire to look good. If you’re anything like me, that particular motivation isn’t so helpful during a pandemic.
External motivators are often fickle, so my core motivation is to be fit for myself.
Pandemic Fitness Tips that Work
Fitness Routines as Self-Care
Studies show that exercise wards off depression, increases sleep quality, and leads to better overall health. Recent studies also show that most people’s mental health has been negatively affected by the pandemic.
It can be hard to engage in self-care while stuck at home with family or roommates. I make sure that the people around me know my exercise time is invaluable. I am not to be disturbed while working out.
A sense of self-determination is another key factor in mental health, and I feel more in control of my life when I take care of myself.
I’ve heard a lot of advice about how to trick yourself into working out when you don’t feel like it. This is one of the best tips: Go to the gym even if you don’t intend to work out. Once you’re there, you’ll feel silly if you turn around and go home.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t work when the gym is closed. My home is the only gym I have nowadays. Still, there’s a twist on that trick.
I tell myself that I’ll just work out for a few minutes. If I’m having a tough day, I might even decide to work out for just one minute. Once I get going, it feels ridiculous to stop after only sixty seconds – so I keep exercising.
On that note, I avoid overcommitting myself. It’s not always realistic to plan to work out for a full hour every day. Keep your expectations realistic so that you don’t get discouraged.
Having an accountability buddy can help keep me on track. I make sure to choose someone with workout goals that are similar to mine so that we understand each other’s struggles and achievements.
One of the struggles that I deal with is chronic pain in both my knees and shoulders. My buddy turned me onto CBD products to help me relief this pain and keep going. CBD also helped with residual pain I felt after my workout as well. With my accountability buddy I found products from CanRelieve that kept me going.
Indoor Exercise Resources
A lot of people are wondering, “But how do I stay fit without gym machines?” I assure you, you don’t need machines.
Bodyweight training is easy to do at home. This includes exercises like push-ups, squats, and lunges. If any of those are too difficult or too easy for you, it’s simple to find modifications for each one online.
I also find it helpful to have a few key bits of equipment at home. Sure, it’s unrealistic for many people to have an entire home gym, but a fully-fledged home gym isn’t necessary. I make sure to have some dumbbells of various weights, yoga mats, and a jump rope.
When I’m stumped about how to create a workout routine from scratch, I look online to find ideas. The Internet is full of pre-created routines. Depending on your needs, you can use workouts from videos, podcasts, or apps.
You can even try some live online video classes. Many of them are great!
COVID has been a doozy for us all. My fitness suffered at first. When I used the tricks I describe above, everything became so much easier. The challenges of this pandemic are still here, but I know that I’ll be as fit as ever when things finally get back to normal.