For me exercising is an important part of my occupational balance. It helps keep me healthy; from keeping my asthma in check and my respiratory tract healthier. It’s emotional self-care too, it pumps me up for the day to the point where, on occasion, I may be seen skipping to work as I leave the gym!
A bike ride, run, or walk will give me space to process and embrace difficult emotions and just run with it – to identify solutions and reflect on my thoughts – I count the strides in 8s and it brings me clarity. Dancing lets me fully express and experience my emotions through my whole body. With COVID-19 being a respiratory condition, I felt it was especially important for me to maintain an exercise routine during this time.
Exercising means different things for everyone and we all have different relationships with it during this time. So I reached out to my friends, of various athletic backgrounds, and asked them if they would be willing to share their experiences with training and exercising during COVID-19.
Here’s what they have to say:
Struggling emotionally with the transition to home-based training:
“[At first] I really missed the gym. Without it, I thought all my hard work would be out the window. [As time passed] I was having fun and there was no pressure to perform, it was a nice mental break as well.” – SH
“I felt lost at first without the direction, not really motivated” – YS
“Options are obviously different and limited to activities with reduced numbers and limited facilities. Not being able to participate in team sports, like soccer, was tough. Playing soccer is both a social and physical activity.” – MM
Getting creative and adapting training to work at home:
“I had to get creative with how I was doing some of my training, particularly from an strength and conditioning point of view” – AT
“The first few weeks were a really refreshing opportunity to diversify my routine. I did lots of body weight strengthening and cardio HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts that addressed muscle groups and movements that I normally neglect. I did yoga on the living room floor. I did handstands. I knew that incorporating more variety into workouts and focusing on mobility would be important for preventing injuries in weightlifting down the road.” – SH
“The challenging thing, for me, was finding exercises that would work within my home. Most of the exercises that I ended up doing came from Instagram stories or accounts from fitness trainers who were transitioning their clients to at-home workouts.” – SP
Here’s what my friends wish will stick with them from the at-home training experience:
Focusing on the quality and the growth that comes from training:
“Emphasise quality training over quantity training.”- AT
“I want to continue focusing on myself and my growth, in a non-judgmental way when exercising. I want to continue keeping my ego out of my exercising. Listening to my body is so much more important. It’s pretty good at telling me what it needs, and I have been trained to know the difference between good and bad pain, helpful fatigue and harmful fatigue.” – MM
“I’ve been sleeping more and eating better, had more flexibility in planning my workouts, and paid more attention to my recovery after workouts. I was surprised at how much this paid off for me in terms of making gains while training at home and I look forward to showing it off on the competition platform.” – SH
Learning what’s possible when working out at home:
“Realising that I CAN do it on my own when needed, I am CAPABLE!” – YS
“It is possible to workout at home! Motivation does not exclusively come from being in a gym or with others. If you set small goals for yourself like 10 minutes a day, you can build on that and soon you will be in a routine that fits your needs.” – SP
“Overall, I’m so grateful to have been able to try some new things and, for me, staying active through this time has kept me grounded.” – SH
As we are training at home, we will likely experience some ups and downs as we learn, discover, and adapt to new ways of doing. What is something that you want to stick with you from training at home?
This is Part 1 in a three-part series. Stay tuned tomorrow to learn some helpful strategies from Anna and her friends.
Author: Anna Braunizer
Twitter handle: @ABraunizer
Author Bio: Anna’s a community-based Occupational Therapist in Victoria, BC. Her favourite physical activities are crossfit, biking, rowing, swimming, hiking, ninja practice, kayaking, canoeing, and dancing.