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  • Anjali Gupta

Exercise: Treat Yourself

As we started this quarantine in March, many of us felt concern and sadness for the community around us. Amidst the daily news conferences and escalating numbers, we struggled to find healthy distractions and silver linings amidst all the grief. As we tried to adjust to the new normal, many explored creative ways to try virtual classes and apps to bring yoga, pilates, Peloton, Orange Theory, Solid Core, strength, abs and more into our homes through screens. This virus was not going to stop us from the health benefits of our workouts. Technology would keep us connected to our trainers, teachers, and workout friends.

Over the last couple weeks as quarantine fatigue has set in, the novelty over some of the explorative ideas has been wearing off. The energy around engaging in some of these virtual ways is diminishing as we long for our gyms and studios and in-person camaraderie. But a recent preliminary study tells us we need to find ways to keep up our exercise. In a cross-sectional study of more than 3,000 U.S. adults the first week of April, physical activity was reduced by one third among previously active participants. Not being active anymore following Covid-19 restrictions was associated with worse current mental health.* Finding the time for exercise is even more important during this pandemic.

Do what you love, find ways to be accountable, and keep it simple.

A friend of mine had a wide assortment of exercise weaved into her pre-Corona week. Cardio and strength classes at Orange Theory and Solid Core, runs, spinning...and wait for it...trapeze classes. How does one replicate that regimen in the quarantine days? Peloton, Orange Theory, and runs have continued. As for her love for the trapeze, she had to think of a way to work on shoulder and arm strength without the flying bar she continued this love through handstands. This has been the daily alternative. Though the learning curve has presented many options for the type of handstand which differs in balance, form, movement, and entrance into the pose, it may not come as a surprise that the trapeze substitute she chose has been the circus method handstand. What I love about this woman who you might think is completely intimidating with her upside down, walking poses, is that she is totally real. She too has looked for ways to stay accountable with a 30 day plank challenge with a friend and a push up challenge with another friend for 25 days. As she supportively mentions to me that I should try handstands, I imagine myself more in a tripod and wonder silently if that helps your body at all.:) Who knows. If this quarantine continues until 2021, maybe I too can aspire to a handstand.

Thank you for the inspiration, Sylvia!

Think back to March. I remember trying to think through how I was going to work out consistently without a trainer keeping me going or my pre-paid Pilates class I had to show up for. Well, these 10 women were part of the Bye Corona Accountability Group thanks to Team Captain Michelle. Pre-Covid these women did spinning classes and yoga studios together so Michelle knew them and what they could accomplish together. She sent them an email Week 1 with a 7 day collective goal: 175 miles, 150 plank minutes, 1,500 squats, 500 push ups, 10 thirty minute classes, and 500 meditation minutes. Then she set up a Google spreadsheet with their 10 names and each activity so that they could fill out their numbers as they did them. She even sent encouraging messages to keep them going through the week as she checked their progress on the spreadsheet. For 6 WEEKS during Covid, this group kept each other motivated by utilizing camaraderie, teamwork, and accountability to accomplish their goals collectively. Though they are now branching out into individual workouts, they are friends and still do coordinate Zoom classes and discuss best running paths for the day ahead. We all know it is harder to miss a class commitment when a friend is counting on you to be there.

Thank you for the inspiration, Michelle and Mika!

So if you have read this far, you are now in one of two camps. You may be thinking you want to do one of these things or you may be thinking it is stressful to think of incorporating that much working out into your schedule. So I am going to close out with the last message of just keep it simple. There really are ways all around you to squeeze in exercise. Jump rope outside with your kids, bike, walk, put your toddler on you and do your sit ups, use your cans from the pantry as weights, and push ups and squats just require you and your will. Do whatever you can and keep it simple. Have self compassion and do what works for you. No judgement. Exercise helps all of us. Treat yourself to the physical and mental health benefits.


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