The world as we know it is vastly different than it was a little over a year ago. Hardly anything we do, see or hear about has been unchanged by the pandemic we are experiencing at the moment. The ramifications of this new era are obvious worldwide and one of the most impactful of these effects is that relating to our mental and physical health.
By now, many are realizing the negative impact of being cut off from our regular social activities and local communities. One area that has been hit hard in this regard is that of the fitness community at large. Gyms, group fitness classes, obstacle races, sporting events... essentially everything of a physical nature except walking has been reduced if not completely removed from our daily lives. For those that live a healthy lifestyle, this is barely shy of a death sentence.
Where there's a will, there's a way, which is why you have read so many articles about gyms opening up despite closure recommendations and virus outbreaks accompanying these occurrences. In other words, people need their workouts and they're going to find ways to make them happen, even if it means putting their own health, and the health of others, at risk. The question remains - How do we find health and fitness in this new world?
The face of health is changing before our eyes, whether you notice it or not. Gyms have been closed, then opened, then re-opened with reduced capacity, then closed again, and re-opened, etc. Beside the fact that this is extremely annoying and confusing, there has grown a stigma around the idea of visiting a gym at all. More and more people are being turned off from the idea of sharing a confined space with others who are sweating and breathing heavily and this is causing people to view fitness facilities as a hotbed of contagion. All of this means that people are now being forced to look elsewhere and take health matters into their own hands. Unfortunately for many, this is leading to a dead end of options.
Well, if you're creative and willing to work a little to find your answer, there are still plenty of solutions out there, some old, some new and many that are still effective at helping you reach your health goals or at least tiding you over until we can get back to some semblance of our pre-pandemic fitness routines.
Hire a personal trainer
This option has been around forever and remains a staple in the routines of many. Just because gyms are closed doesn't mean you can't get 1on1 help from an experienced trainer.
Many are offering virtual sessions, outdoor in-person sessions or simply just customized training plans and check ins to make sure you're on track and progressing.
Join an outdoor bootcamp
Again, this route has been popular for a while now and while options are limited, there are still plenty of coaches out there running small group activities that you can join and tackle your goals that way. Yes, you're at the mercy of weather and location but it's better than nothing and you might be surprised at how motivating it is to work with others, especially when things get a little competitive!
Up your YouTube game
Let's be real, nothing beats free. YouTube provides more great workout footage than you can shake a stick at. Now not all of it is good, maybe only some of it is quality material but the point is it's out there if you're willing to look for it.
If you are new to fitness, you may want to spend some time researching various channels to see what each has to offer and don't be afraid to do some research on your own to see which style best suits your needs before jumping in and just following any and all workout videos. If this is still a daunting task, consider hiring a personal coach on a short term basis and pick their brains during that time for advice when you are on your own again.
If all else fails, just accumulate those movement minutes as I like to call them. It sounds simple, hell it sounds boring too, but it works. Like most things in life, fitness is extremely easy to overcomplicate. The KISS acronym has been around for ages for a reason and this setting proves no exception.
The rule of thumb goes like this, move frequently (spend more time active than sedentary), move with purpose (push the pace, elevate your heart rate) and move in all planes (incorporate walking, sitting, pushing, pulling, lifting, resisting, lunging, twisting, etc.).
This approach paired with good sleep and a sound diet will prove more successful than many might think. Again, it's not going to turn you into a cover model in a few months but it will keep you feeling good and fighting off unwanted weight gain or health problems until you can pivot to another option.
The world we live in has changed quite drastically and this includes the fitness world. Like in any situation we face in life, we are presented with only two options: resist and experience difficulty or adjust and adapt.
Are you going to follow the masses and use this strange time as an excuse to let your health goals continue to collect dust on the shelf or are you going to take action, adjust your plan of attack and make this your best health year despite everything else? I guess we'll let the results (or lack thereof) speak for themselves when the pandemic fog lifts - I hope to see you on the fit side.