Finding Time for and Sharing Fitness During the COVID-19 Crisis

The world is facing a very potent health crisis right now, and it will impact all of our daily lives in ways we cannot fully grasp at present. In order to mitigate the potential loss of life caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus (“COVID-19”), many of us find ourselves the reluctant subjects of a “Stay-at-Home” Executive Order. Under this “lockdown” directive, all citizens deemed non-essential to COVID-19 response efforts and other occupations that are crucial for the continued operation of our society’s basic infrastructures and institutions must remain at home for a minimum of two weeks. For CrossFit participants around the world, this means learning to utilize household odd objects and garage gyms for workouts until we can resume attending classes at our local boxes. Whether or not we agree with the order, or understand the reasons behind it, the quarantine lifestyle is our harsh new reality, and it is scary.

It can be rather difficult to find fitness inspiration and motivation under these circumstances, especially when we cannot rely on the standard accountability mechanisms that keep us in check. CrossFit—as a training and lifestyle methodology—was built, in part, on the principle that fitness can be a social endeavor, and that participants can thrive on the communal energy fostered in a group training context. Although the “at-home” restrictions imposed by local officials have made it nearly impossible to physically train amongst fellow CrossFit participants, there are still ways to find time for fitness, and alternative avenues by which you can share your fitness experiences with friends and family. Below are a few suggestions.

First, wake up a little earlier than you otherwise would—unless you already wake up early. Even though traffic hurdles do not really exist right now, take advantage of any extra morning minutes you can salvage to be productive. Begin hydrating; eat breakfast and brew your coffee/tea; catch up on relevant news headlines; check in with loved ones you cannot physically be with; read for self-enrichment; etc. These are all easy things many of us would love to do, but do not do because of poor daily planning and the inevitable rushing that comes along with it. Now is your chance!

Second, do something active, immediately. After you get some fuel in your body, try to spend at least fifteen minutes on your feet. It can be a task as simple as walking your pet or getting your child dressed. This will help increase your heart rate, warm-up your musculoskeletal system, and stimulate your metabolism so that it operates efficiently throughout the day—which, due to the lockdown, may involve a lot more sedentary time than usual. It may even make you hungry to get a quick WOD in later in the day.

Third, do something with someone else. During our “old normal”, there was never enough time to connect with friends and family, even those with whom we lived. Now is our chance. Things may be tough right now, from every perspective, but there is still opportunity. A simple phone call with a relative, or assisting a child with a math question, will suffice. Re-establish connections that have been lost and take the time to let those around you know they are important and cared for. We, as members of a society and global community, are in danger of becoming separated permanently because of the COVID-19 crisis; let’s prevent that from happening.

Fourth, work out! We are also in danger of becoming extremely static because of the lockdown, as we recognize that the internet makes it ever more possible to attend school classes, conduct business, and engage in social interaction from the comfort of our own residences. You may not be able to use conventional (modern) workout equipment, but that is not a reason to take a hiatus from physical activity. Many named CrossFit WODs rely exclusively on bodyweight movements, and many easily accessible household items—some of the ones gathering dust in the basement—make excellent dumbbells/kettlebells/barbells/etc. Incorporating these in your at-home workouts can even add an element of excitement. Moreover, working out at home provides us with a chance to collaborate and connect with our fitness friends and others outside of our immediate households, thanks to internet platforms like Zoom. And, if other work or domestic obligations keep us from attending online Zoom classes, there are all sorts of free workout challenges available on the web. Some are questionable, but many are altruistic and genuinely designed to keep people active, involved, and healthy. Take advantage of these resources, and share your experiences with others.

Fifth, document what you do. Keeping a (training) “journal”—or, “daily log/record”—of what you do is useful for several reasons. It allows you to evaluate your personal fitness progress, provides a forum for self-reflection and meditation, and fosters creativity. Include only what time permits you. There really is no right/wrong way to go about it. Just do you and have fun!

Things will never be the same after the immediate crisis passes. Making things better will be a collective effort, requiring all hands on deck. We must put ourselves in the best position to confront the unknown and unknowable challenges that still lay ahead. Finding time for quarantine fitness, by following the steps above, will help with that. Stay active and healthy, everyone!
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