Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. Whether it’s the incessant snacking from the last year or the numerous Skip The Dishes takeout we’ve resorted to, COVID-19 has placed a mental and physical toll on our bodies. For myself, I know the pandemic has been unforgiving on my workout routines. With the number of public health restrictions and gym facilities that have shut down, despite the number of “re-openings”, it’s inevitable that many are facing some exacerbation of health conditions and some difficulty taking care of ourselves.
I’ve found that, with the warmer weather and burst in motivation from it, I’ve committed to a workout routine that works for me. Here’s to hoping that this article helps you with your path to finding a good routine to fit your schedule. I found that once I was past an initial inertia to be active, it was quite manageable to do a 10-20 minute workout each day. In fact, setting small goals such as 10 minutes a day often expands your exercise capacity over time. After a month of exercising daily, I’ve found that my tolerance has lengthened to 1 hour workout periods. So how did I do it?
First Start a Routine:
From personal experience, the first two days were one of the most challenging barriers to overcome. Especially when even a light 10-15 minute workout would strain muscles, create joint aches that lasted the next two days. But it gets better! Especially the rush of endorphins in your body is enough to offset the initial pains. Setting a schedule is very important as it accustoms your body to activity and sweat. Set aside 10-15 minutes before dinner or before breakfast and watch this habit grow overtime.
The keyword here is “beginners.” If you’re like me and haven’t been entirely active throughout the pandemic, then starting slow and being consistent is key to your workout success. Initially, I followed very challenging videos that were high intensity and taught by fitness gurus with years of experience and built-in stamina. When it came to my turn, I could barely last 5 minutes of intense cardio. If you’re using Youtube, opt for videos that have thoughtful breaks after each exercise. Even if it’s 10-30 second rest, your muscles will thank you for it. These helpful beginner’s videos will also mean you can endure longer workouts and not feel defeated in the beginning of starting a new habit.
If staying accountable to starting this new habit is difficult, involve a friend or family member. Having others be part of your routine means that you’ll be less likely to “change your mind”. I found that by skyping a friend, I was able to see their suffering as we both endured sit-ups and burpees. Because working out can feel more like a social activity in a gym or studio, it becomes even more important to feel like we’re part of a workout community that can motivate, push us to achieve our physical exercise goals.