Using Time in the Pandemic to Get in Better Shape
How have you spent this time during the pandemic to advance your fitness?
Most of us might’ve done little or nothing, since many gyms and other fitness businesses weren’t available, and our overall activities were restricted. It’s been too easy to take “stay at home” orders to also mean “stay at home, sit on the couch, and eat everything you want,” hasn’t it?
But not for everyone.
Mark Pearson, 57, is in better shape now than when the crisis began, and that’s no accident.
In the months leading up to the quarantine, Mark had packed extra pounds onto his 5-foot, 7-inch frame. He had neglected his physical rehabilitation for a couple of old injuries that were causing him pain – and he’d neglected most exercise in general. Work had become so demanding. There was always more to do.
“Then the coronavirus hit and everything stopped,” Mark recalls now. “The lightbulb came on above my head. I have to control the things that I can, and I can’t control what the government’s going to do, or what the virus is going to do.”
National media attention
Mark’s story isn’t unique, thankfully.
In recent months, several publications have written about this phenomenon of taking advantage of the Covid to improve physical fitness. People are focusing on achieving their goal weight, getting ready for races or competitions, or finally reaching some other goal they’d always had.
“Many of us have been moving less since the pandemic began. But some, including many older men and women, seem to be moving more,” The New York Times reported. “Some people, however, seem to be exercising as much or more than before, and surprisingly, a hefty percentage of those extra-active people are older than 65.”
The Washington Post took a slightly saucier approach: “Some people are getting hotter during the pandemic. How dare they?”
Before Covid, there wasn’t always time, after all, to exercise and focus on ourselves. And eating at restaurants -- now basically verboten – makes it harder to lose weight, with the large portions, high sodium, and menu that isn’t’ customized for you.
Cooking your own meals – which we’ve all been doing more – makes it easier, whether you’re cutting out carbs, fat, or anything else.
‘It’s easy to be negative’
For Mark, a trainer who works with older adults, that meant doing what he tells his clients to do: adopt a healthy, responsible mindset; don’t get bogged down in depressing developments; do the exercise you need to do, including your rehab; eat right; and don’t look at the scale every day.
“I had to double-down on all of that,” he says. “It’s easy to be negative when you’re faced with adversity. This is the time for us to be engaging in best practices.”
Before long, people started asking Mark if he had lost weight. He noticed his clothes were too baggy. That’s what happens when you drop 35 pounds.
He looks, feels and even coaches better, he says, with deeper empathy for clients’s struggles.
“If I can do it, you can do it,” he says.