Arsema's Tips: Maintaining Your Health While Social Distancing and Quarantining
Girls in the Lead loves to encourage girls to participate in sports to build leadership, community, and confidence- but what about maintaining exercise without mentors to help guide you?
As someone who did not regularly workout before an international pandemic confined us to our homes, the concept of remaining active and healthy while indoors is foreign to me. But since social isolation began, it seems like the whole world has decided that now is the time to start exercising. Whether it be the news, social media, or friends who have way more motivation than I do, the exercise train is officially rolling, which is great! Besides the obvious physical value, exercising has been shown to help mental health and can encourage routine building- something that is valuable during a time where the days of the week blur together. But throwing yourself into an exercise routine can be harder than people think, especially for those of us who do not have experience doing it. So, I spent the last week researching ways to make keeping active easier while at home.
Arsema’s 5 Tips to exercising during self-isolation:
Stretch. Even if you cannot exercise daily, stretches are short and can make a huge difference in maintaining flexibility. Many use them to begin their day with a calming routine, I prefer blasting mid-2000’s pop music but to each their own.
Build up the intensity of activities. START SMALL. This one should be self-explanatory but please do not run a 5k if you haven't ran a mile in four years. It is okay that you are not up to your previous levels of exercise, do not hurt yourself trying to skip steps.
Find motivation. This one proved difficult for me but I found that the best way to exercise was with another person, that way if I bail or try to get out they could hold me accountable. I used members of my family but doing a workout routine with a friend (6 feet apart or over zoom) is still a great option. If you like exercising in solitude, set a goal to reach!
Find the way you like to exercise. There are so many ways to keep active. Going on runs, lifting weights, workout machines, etc. My personal favorite method is team sports, which for obvious reasons is not ideal in today’s circumstances. I have been going on bike rides instead so I can be active while also not having to follow a strict workout plan. My sister’s favorite exercise method is using YouTube workout videos, which are useful because many require little outside equipment.
Forcing yourself to exercise is not the way. This is one that I struggled with the most. I felt that because I had all this free time, it should be easy for me to jump into a routine. But building new habits, especially in a time where many have difficulty focusing on the smallest tasks due to declining mental health and continued stress is hard. Keeping active is something to strive for but do not get mad at yourself if all you can do is stretch. There are perilous times, and exercising is often more of a mental game than it is a physical one.
By: Arsema Belai (GIL Guest Contributor)