We are all well aware of the current threat that has killed thousands of people, crashed the stock market, slowed down the economy and created fear within all of us. COVID-19 has killed over 21,000 people and there are close to 500,000 confirmed cases as of today 03/26/2020. The virus is thought to be mainly spread by person to person which is why almost the entire world is in quarantine right now. I’m not a scientist and I’m not a doctor to give a qualified opinion on the virus itself which is why I leave it at that. If you want to learn more about the virus you should seek information from a qualified institution such as:
The topic I can address is quarantine. As a personal trainer I’m well versed in the human physique and the necessity of movement to stay healthy. I purposely used the word healthy and not shredded or lean because at this moment it is more important to stay physically and mentally healthy until we have found a cure / solution to revoke quarantine.
First of all we have to understand that quarantine is different for every single individual out there. If you’re Ellen Degeneres you might not have such a hard time with a pool, big yard, multiple rooms to change up your environment but the majority of people live in apartments. If you’re stuck in an apartment with your significant other you might have a hard time right now but you can’t really pinpoint what the reason is. Let me dive into this a bit.
Before COVID-19 happened you probably left the apartment in the morning and came back home in the afternoon to see your loved one. So you probably had a couple hours a day with your partner to discuss the day, talk about goals or make plans for the weekend. Now that you don’t have all these topics to talk about you might find yourself in a situation where you get angry, annoyed or frustrated because you feel like an animal in a cage. Locked up! On top of that you spend 24 hours a day with your partner which you are not used to yet. This can cause a lot of stress which then affects your health. No I’m not a qualified therapist to help you with your relationship but I speak out of experience. My intention of writing this is to make you aware that this is a state of exception and it is totally fine to be overwhelmed by all the information you are bombarded with daily.
Mental stress can affect your body negatively if you don’t respond correctly. Being continuously stressed because of the quarantine, the stock market, your job, your relationship can affect your brain, leave you feel tired and exhausted, increase your heart rate and tens up your entire body. There are two very important measures you can take to actively reduce stress and keep your body health.
Be active! It doesn’t matter how small or big your home is, you can do bodyweight exercises which don’t require any equipment. Focus on HIIT session that challenge you. Focus on exercises where you can get all your anger, frustration, fear out of your body. If you don’t know what I mean let me give you an example. As a kid when I was angry about a situation I didn’t want to be in and I wasn’t able to do anything about it I started doing push ups until I didn’t feel the anger anymore. You basically trick your brain into focusing on a physical “pain” instead of focusing on the emotion you’re feeling. It’s incredible how the body works and how easy it is to manipulate your own emotions. Instead of giving in to the emotions / feelings try to get up and do 1000 Jumping Jacks. Did he just say 1000? Yes I did. In fact I’m doing a livestream every single day on https://subs.twitch.tv/bodybybartl (if you have an Amazon Prime account you can subscribe for free) during the quarantine where I do 100 Push Ups, 100 Air Squats, 100 Crunches and 1000 Jumping Jacks to get my entire body moving for at least 20 minutes a day. Why is this so important? There are many reasons but let me give you two of them:
- When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also make you feel happy and accomplished.
- Before the quarantine happened you probably walked between 6,000 and 10,000 steps per day which burned between 300-500 calories per day. Now with being stuck in the apartment you probably walk around 1,000-2,000. At this point your body starts to weaken and reduce muscle size including the muscles you need for breathing. The less active you are the weaker you get and easy tasks such as getting up will become a struggle.
Meditate. I’ve learned a lot from friends like Jay Jetty who wrote a book called “Think Like A Monk” about meditation. I’m not going to lie – it has been the most challenging task for me while being in quarantine but also the most rewarding one. Sitting in silence and trying to calm your mind is hard work. It looks so easy but to get the best results you have to fully immerge into your mind. Meditation can reduce stress and anxiety, boost productivity, increase your sleep and the next part is the one I’m most excited about – reduce cardiovascular risk and may help lower blood pressure. Now if these health benefits aren’t outstanding and worth a try then I don’t know.
We are in quarantine to keep us safe from the virus but it is your responsibility to STAY healthy during this hard time. Please share this article with anybody who might need a little bit of motivation to take ownership of their health in this situation we’re all in.