Last month, I used this blog as a platform to discuss staying active and finding time for personal fitness during the COVID-19 crisis, which has resulted in the issuing of “stay at home” orders by local and state executives all over the country. Many of those orders remain in place, at present, and some of us have—at a minimum—another full month of quasi-domestic confinement ahead. Under the circumstances, relief and respite are surprisingly difficult to find. Leaving the domicile for grocery store essentials has never been more appealing; unfortunately, it has also never been more dangerous. Aside from these brief excursions for sustenance and the occasional familial visit (while observing appropriate social distancing protocol, of course), the closest we get to human interaction beyond the members of our immediate households is through Zoom. The days of attending an hour training session with friends and family at the local CrossFit gym appear to have sunk into the past of a world that will never quite be the same. Five or six weeks feels like an eternity, in COVID-19 time.
Alas, I digress. This piece is not about the unprecedented awkwardness of life amidst a global pandemic; rather, it’s about hope and finding a way back to positivity and productivity—particularly when it comes to personal fitness. Contrary to what many people may have expected to happen, life is as busy as ever for most Americans (and global citizens) restricted to their homes. Needless to say, there are many legitimate justifications for amending where personal fitness falls on the list of immediate priorities. That said, these are stressful times, and regular physical exercise can play a major role in handling mental distress. For those that have lost some training steam, or been unable to incorporate personal fitness into your daily routine, but would like to get back to the grind, what follows are some helpful tips for doing so—responsibly.
Tip 1: Write down—with pen/pencil and paper—your commitment to return to an active lifestyle and your reasons for pursuing one. Traditional accountability mechanisms are not necessarily available right now. Having a tangible reminder of the goal(s) you want to achieve—and why—is invaluable. Sharing it with a close confidante may also be a good idea. Choose someone you know will keep you honest.
Tip 2: Avoid being overly nostalgic. Reviewing prior conduct and accepting the past are both necessary for present development and future success; however, time spent eliciting self-pity from prior experiences is a futile and unproductive exercise. Visiting memory lane is an addictive temptation, in this context, but it will never yield the same profit as hard work and action.
Tip 3: Get moving right away. Procrastination is another appealing trap. Unknowns and uncertainty can cause us to freeze, and we validate our indecision with the conviction that things will change and opportunities will ripen with time. Sadly, the opposite is usually true. While we wait, our chances disintegrate under our noses because we are blinded by our utopic visions of what we want. The means to obtain those desires—those means that we control, at least—get utterly neglected.
Tip 4: Keep things simple. I cannot emphasize this enough. There are two primary reasons behind this tip. First, making meaningful progress requires building a stable foundation, and complexity corrupts the process of reestablishing or reinforcing the same. Second, nothing is more disheartening than taking three steps backwards after one step forwards. With respect to physical fitness, overtraining is a very real culprit, and the last thing you want to do when you embark on a new journey is get hurt.
Tip 5: Pair your personal fitness commitment with one additional healthy habit—just one. Lifestyle adjustments are hard enough, and they can be overwhelming. The impact of adopting a “wholesale” or “cold turkey” approach to self-improvement can be extreme, and adapting can be a significantly steep uphill battle. That said, accommodating a second wellness objective can complement your effort towards the first by fostering generally productive behavior. Moreover, this additional healthy habit does not even have to be fitness related; it could be as simple as making your bed.
Tip 6: Find some inspirational story on any media platform, and enjoy it. Seeing others accomplish their goals tends to affect us emotionally. It makes us internalize the fact that we can be better, even though what “better” means necessarily differs between each of us.
Stay healthy and active!