Personal Fitness during a Pandemic: Tips to consider

Sat, 08/22/2020 - 14:17
by David Ng, CPCU, ARM

With many fitness centers and gyms still shuttered during the current pandemic, personal fitness has become a forefront issue.  We are all aware sitting and staring at smartphones and video monitors for hours is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle.  Many of us continue to work remotely.  Vacations and personal travel have been curtailed. However, we can still go outdoors for fresh air, and exercise.  “What exercise?” you ask.

There are many exercises options, but the one that has withstood the test of time is very simple: Walking.  Early man was a grazer.  He had to walk, search, and hunt in order to survive.  As a former marathoner, skier, tennis, softball, basketball, and swim enthusiast, you might be surprised walking has crept back into my fitness regime… but it has, with several benefits.

People of all ages can participate, and it re-defines the term, “Stop and smell the roses”.  During my recent walks around a nearby lake, I rediscovered how spring turned into summer; noticed various species of birds, and how different species of plants and trees change with the seasons.

Walking does not require any special equipment; a good pair of shoes, comfortable clothes, water bottle, and you are all set!  Oh yes… do not forget your smartphone.  If you have earplugs, music is an added bonus.  Please practice socially distancing.

You can walk at your own pace.  A brisk walk covers more distance and increases your heart rate.  A moderate walk allows you to enjoy your surroundings.  Did you know walking or running a mile burns the same number of calories? Runners—even marathon runners—often use “walk breaks” during their runs.  Walk breaks allows runners’ hips, knees, and feet to recover before they continue their run.  If your fitness level improves to the point where you can jog, you might consider running as the next goal... but that is a different topic altogether.

Walking does not have to be solitary.  You can walk with your family, a friend.  Meeting someone at a certain time and place to walk can be a great motivator.  Before you know it, you covered a mile… or two.  You can alternate brisk and moderate walk days--or long and short days.  Moreover, you can vary your walk route.  Some of my most enjoyable walks occurred after a rain shower.  If conditions are right, you can catch a gorgeous rainbow--or a stunning sunset. Check your local weather before leaving.

Every journey begins with a single step.  You can start with five minutes walks.  That can turn into 10 or 20 minutes walks.  Walk twice, thrice, or 5 times weekly.  For the digitally inclined, the internet is chock full of resources, and information.  There are scads of walking videos on YouTube.  You can even walk indoors!  To improve your posture, you can incorporate walking sticks into your routine.  To track your progress, get a fitness monitor or watch that can precisely calculate steps and/or distance.  No surprise:  A steady walking program combined with proper diet will lead to weight loss.  Happy walking!

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