Staying Active During Quarantine
As a high school student athlete, I live by the seasonal sports, and my efforts are usually tailored towards the final competitions at the end of the year. Naturally, when the quarantine abruptly cancelled my running season in March, I found myself spiraling into a very unmotivated state. It was hard to get outside, much less have a quality run and train for the upcoming year. However, throughout the summer, I learned through trial and error different methods to keep exercising despite the lack of structure during the pandemic. Here are a few of them:
1. Make a plan. Regardless of whether you're walking around the block for ten minutes, or preparing for a competitive season, making a plan is instrumental in consistently getting exercise. A plan can be simply a set time every few days that you allot for exercise or a certain distance you want to hit on a run. Exercising with a goal in mind makes it easier to create a schedule for yourself to incrementally improve.
2. Accountability. One of the easiest ways to consistently motivate yourself is having an "accountability partner." It's a lot simpler than it sounds. An accountability partner is just a friend or family member who you need to report your exercise habits to. I have found that sending a simple message and picture to a friend describing my workout really motivates me to exercise on days when I might feel like slacking off. Also, I like having a friend send me messages about their workout because it encourages me to keep up with their consistency. This method is super fun and another good way to keep up with your loved ones!
3. Don't be too hard on yourself. This is perhaps the most important tip. Remember that quarantine is hard for everyone. We're all experiencing a totally new situation. It's okay to feel less energized, less fit, or less healthy than usual. If we try to compare ourselves now to time before the quarantine, it's actually quite regressive and doesn't do much in terms of physical or mental health, at least for me. Learning to cope with quarantine isn't something that happens overnight. Take things day by day, step by step. Stay positive with yourself and your exercise habits.
The moral of the story is: exercise to the best of your ability. Exercise is such an easy way to improve your physical and mental health. A sense of purpose in unstructured times is crucial to maintaining a positive mindset. I hope this helps and remember to stay safe during these uncertain times!