When this quarantine first happened there was a lot of speculation as to how long it would last. Some said it would be over quickly, some said it would be drawn out. As the situation grew more serious it started to become apparent that this may be the way of life for a while. For me, it’s been hard adjusting. I’m sure a lot of you, if not all of you, can relate to that. Even though I am working from home, up until today this consisted mostly of sitting on the couch in my pajamas drinking coffee with my laptop propped on my lap. Being a strength coach, this contrasts the very active job and lifestyle I was leading before all of this. I am also not training as often. Overall, I just feel blah, another thing I’m sure you can all relate to as I’m sure these circumstances are just as disparate for each of you in your own way.
So, to bring some structure back into my life and start creating a routine around what I have accepted as the new norm, I have challenged myself to a few things so I can keep myself accountable. The first challenge: getting ready for the day. Even though I’ll still be sitting in front of my laptop, I set an alarm an hour before I start work. Get up, shower, brush my teeth, make coffee, ect. Only this time I work in my kitchen. Not having an office, the kitchen just feels more professional than the couch. Plus, who wants to workout AND watch Netflix in their “office” after shutting the laptop for the day? I am going to continue with this daily to help create a solid foundation in which to build a new routine from.
Which leads me to my next challenge: daily movement of some kind. As I said, I haven’t been as active or exercising that frequently, and it’s really taken a toll on my body. I feel stiff and not as energetic as I normally would be. When I do train, it seems to take longer to warm up, and when I get going I don’t seem to have that same drive or motivation. Sometimes the gym environment gives you the energy you need, mentally and physically, to get the work done, and it’s just not the same without it. I miss it. But that doesn’t mean we can’t show our body some love while setting ourselves up for long term success. On the days that I don’t train, which is about 4 or 5 out of 7 now, I have challenged myself to move for at least 10-15 minutes. This can be a walk or jog, static or dynamic stretching, or a few rounds of one of the many bodyweight workouts we have posted on Instagram and Facebook. I’ll give you five reasons why this is a great idea:
- Motion is lotion. The human body does not like to remain in static postures for too long. Anyone that has ever sat in front of a computer for multiple hours can attest to that. So, simply put, if you’re getting uncomfortable sitting in front of a screen, and/or just feeling stiff: move. That’s your body’s way of telling you to do so. Your next posture is your best posture. The less you move, the less fluid and more stiff you’ll feel.
- Function. The human body is designed to move, not be sedentary. Exploring movement keeps us healthy, functioning well, and in tune with our body. It can also give us confidence to take on tasks we never thought possible. Increasing strength, muscle size, cardiovascular capacity, it all builds robustness and improves our body’s overall ability to function more efficiently.
- Mental and physical health. We are not designed to live sedentary lifestyles, especially to the extent we are being forced into it right now. If you’re not exercising regularly at the moment, or at least a couple of days a week, this is a great way to start adding some movement back into your daily routine. Something simple like, setting aside 10-15 minutes a day to stretch or go for a walk can help add structure, keep you accountable and also keep your mind at ease.
- Healthy habits. Most of the leading causes of chronic disease and disability are heavily influenced by a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutritional habits, among other factors. The risk of which can be greatly reduced through regular exercise, specifically resistance training, and appropriate nutrition. Right now we are all at a disadvantage, don’t increase your chances of falling into a habit of not exercising, schedule a daily movement session for yourself.
- If you don’t use it, you lose it. Whether we get back into the gym in a month or six months, we WILL be back in the gym. And you don’t want to lose all your hard earned gains. This refers to strength, muscle, cardio, and/or movement skills you’ve gained over the course of your training. While we may only have access to a limited amount of equipment or none at all, there are still things that can be done to preserve your progress, or at least not make your return to the gym a hard one.