As the coronavirus wreaks havoc on the world, it would be easy to stop doing a lot of things we do on a daily basis to better our lives. Somethings need to be brought to a temporary halt over health concerns.
Exercising is not one of them.
Today, there are more gyms sprouting up than ever before, as owners try to profit off the high demand of fitness training. While a number of gyms in the local area have closed their doors temporarily to fight the spread of the coronavirus, personal trainers like Brian Hofer of AC4 in Santa Barbara maintain it is not a reason to stop with that part of your life.
“There are zero excuses not to work out,” Hofer told the News-Press. “At a time like this, I think it’s important to keep things simple, focus on things you can control, especially when so much is out of our hands right now. You’ll want to simplify things that you can do at home to stay active.
When you exercise at home, turn off the news and turn on some music.
“Turn on something that makes you feel good, stuff that will get you moving. Take advantage of what you have in your house. If you live in a two-story home or you live in an apartment complex, those stairs are a great way to get your heartrate up, get your legs moving, get your heart pumping so that you’re no longer sedentary, as we’re all afraid of being when we’re isolated and confined to our homes.”
Hofer says there is also a need to pay attention to your diet, maybe even more than ever before.
“I think with stuff in the news right now, there’s a lot of concern about stocking up on food,” he said. “If we’re going to talk about health and wellness, I think the most important thing right now is to focus on not consuming too much food out of fear, and keeping yourself busy.
“If we’re stuck at home, try to minimize the emotional eating. Once we’ve established that basis of control, then try to move past that into what we can do to try to stay active.”
Millions of Americans and others around the world rely on a gym workout as part of their daily routine.
While it may not be possible to hit the gym multiple times a week as you normally do, Hofer says there are plenty of alternatives at home, and in places that are safe to be in right now. The key is to find other means of exercise and fitness to stay as healthy as you can be.
“We want to try to build a healthy immune system, and we get that through exercise,” Hofer said. “When we stop exercising, obviously we can assume that our immune system will start to suffer because of it. Weigh your odds. If you’re in that susceptible age group, if you’re living with conditions that are going to be potentially aggravated in a public environment, definitely you need to stay away and isolate yourself.
“But isolate yourself and understand that you still can move. You may not be able to come in and do an elliptical for an hour, but you can go out for a walk. If you see people coming towards you on one side of the street, if you’re afraid of being around people, cross to the other side of the street and try to distance yourself from others, but stay moving when you can.”
As for the hard-core gym-goers, the ones who hit the weight bench hard, it may not be possible to gain that same level of workout at home, but Hofer believes there is another way of looking at it.
“I think for the hard-core people, it’s a matter of maintaining what you’ve been building,” he said. “Understanding that you’re not going to have access to the same pieces of equipment, the same intensity, the same workouts that you’ve had before, and just customizing what you’re able to do. You’ll want to shift your mindset and say, ‘Hey, this isn’t about continually moving forward, this is about me maintaining whatever level of fitness I can maintain when I’m taken out of my environment.’”
There is also the internet as a way to continue your exercise routine.
“YouTube is one of the best resources out there,” said Michelle Rotondo, a personal trainer at Gold’s Gym. “There are thousands of videos for all levels, even for seniors. There are chair workouts, there’s body-weight workouts, there’s short little core workouts if you’re crunched for time. There’s literally everything you need out there on the internet.”
There is also a mental approach you need to have when it comes to staying positive, according to Jaron Williams of AC4 in Santa Barbara.
“I think the biggest thing, actually, is being of the mindset that you might be out of your gym for a couple of weeks, but not to let that get you down,” he said. “The biggest thing is having consistency over the long term. If you look at your life two years from now, if you’re working out four to five times a week every week, if you can’t workout for two weeks (or a little longer), it’s not that huge of a deal.
“It’s kind of a drop in the ocean if you really look at it.”