It’s likely that the majority of us are exasperated by 2020 and all the adverse effects that have come with the year. For me, discussing the negative aspects of this year is almost as draining as actually experiencing them. Yet, day-to-day my mind is consumed with how 2020 has impacted my physical health. Although I’ve been blessed with not getting the virus, there are still major ways I feel my health has suffered from this frightful year.
Thinking back to the person I was just a year ago, I enjoyed going to zumba, working out at the gym and some days even jogging at the park. The more I could get my body moving and grooving, the better. Now there are days that I don’t even leave my house as I travel from Zoom call to Zoom call, from seat to seat in my house as I stare at my computer screen and wish there was more to my day. As I think back to the moderately active person that I’ve been my whole life up until now, the biggest piece that’s missing from this year makes me the most distraught. The motivationto get up and move.
A lot of my day during the week is filled with work and schoolwork. But to be frank, there really are windows of time in my weekdays and weekends that I could be spending with physical activity if I had the motivation and energy to get up and do it. Unsatisfied with feeling sluggish and unathletic, I try and convince myself each day to workout like I used to enjoy. But most days, to no avail.
Doctors with the Annals of Internal Medicine published a studyback in June, tracking a worldwide physical activity decline by curating daily step counts from smartphone users.
“Within 10 days of the March 11 pandemic declaration, there was a 5.5 percent average decrease (287 steps) worldwide, growing to a 27.3 percent drop (1,432 steps) within 30 days.”
While there are considerable variations in regional data, the fact remains that the majority of humans have moved less and less this year due to shutdowns and restrictions. The doctors that conducted the study, wonder what long-term impact this may have on our overall cognitive and physical health as we have developed new habits, many which include sitting and not moving enough throughout our day.
As someone who has struggled with body image for the vast majority of my life, putting on a few pounds this year and losing the feeling of joy that used to come with exercising, has taken a toll on my mental health. I try not to dwell on the dissatisfaction that comes with looking in the mirror some days, but I can only avoid myself and my physical appearance for so long. Some days I try and give myself a pep talk in the mirror to go put on my running shoes and do something to get my heart rate up. But not feeling comfortable with working out at the gym and not being able to coordinate my virtual schedule with a friend to go exercise together seems to prevail many days over my pep talk.
This week, I’ve started back with my at-home workout videos that I was doing routinely when we first went into lockdown. Thinking back to that time, many of us believed things would definitely be back to normal by now. That’s why I didn’t mind the workout videos over going to Planet Fitness at the time. I was sure that in a few months we’d have things back in our control and I could once again go to a sold-out Zumba class with perspiring bodies packing a room and grooving to Afrobeats. Now uncertain if things will ever go back to normal enough to allow me to feel comfortable in a workout class or gym with others, I must train my brain to once again love exercising within the confines of my home and favorite park.
Healthline posted a listicle last year with 30 at-home workout moves for all levels. The listicle along with Holly Dolke’s full body circuit video has been helpful to me during a time where my cholesterol has slightly increased and I’ve become Vitamin D deficient from not enough time in the sun.
Although I’m not satisfied with my current sedentary lifestyle, I know that reorganizing my daily routine and starting little by little will help me to get back to the active lifestyle that I enjoyed just a few months ago.