Staying Fit in Quarantine

stayingfit_Shawna_TanWriter: Sasha D.

Visual: Shawna T.

Editor: Keitaro H. 

Fitness and health are intrinsically linked. Fitness is important in the summer, in the winter, in the fall – and unfortunately, the importance of fitness never wavers, even when the world is facing the first global pandemic of the 21st century. 

But, even in complex times, health can be as simple as running.  

I’m lucky enough to have evacuated to part of the world where the virus feels far away. Out here in small-town middle America, I wake up every other day and run 5k with my father. The only thing to see in this town are churches, graveyards, and attorneys at law, so we look at them. We run past the courthouse and then onto the backroads – the ones paved in dirt which rouse themselves in plumes as we go. The sky can be dramatic or desolate. This morning it was blue, blue, cloudless, and high. It breathed a great, conquering wind that shook the masts of tall oaks. When I’m running in the morning, I’m like a kid playing with a short-wave radio. It’s like I’m tuned in on a different station to everyone else. All I can do is marvel. We run past old, decrepit houses where the shingles sluff off like molting snakes. We run through tunnels of green leaves and light, and after that, past a junkyard for mechanical waste. It smells like old metal and carburetor oil. 

Statistics show that running regularly, even short distances, can have very positive health benefits. For example, runners are 50% less likely to have a major heart attack and 25% less likely to get breast cancer (American Journal of Cardiology). In fact, running just 5 minutes daily reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease by 45% and increases life expectancy. 

Currently Mr. Pearce is hunkering down in small-town New Zealand where he’s staying active. Every morning, he reports running 7 kilometers on the mountain trails by his house. He attached a short clip of his daily jog in this video.After his run, he plays outside with his daughter – he’s been teaching her to ride a bike. Then, before bed he cranks out 50 press-ups.

During these unsettling weeks you may say to yourself: “And those who don’t have access to a running trail? Who can’t go outside? What do they do?”

ISM students have been finding ways to stay active and stay motivated during lockdown. Saki, a freshman athlete, says “I’ve been staying as active as possible by not having a very strict schedule so that I don’t experience workout burnout. I also keep track of my progress to stay motivated.”

Elinor, an up-and-coming ISM tap-dancer, says she has gone to great lengths to stay fit during ISM’s hiatus. She says diet is an extremely important component of fitness – an important aspect to focus on when stuck at home- and as such, she “eats salad and freshly pressed juice.” Her fitness routine includes daily exercise which consists of wall climbers, push ups, and jumping jacks. Additionally, she says that short activities throughout the day can also go a long way to improving fitness. She gave some examples such as,  playing in the garden or helping her parents with chores. Elinor said that she “spends hours with her mother in the basement cleaning and organising her landfill of trinkets.” 

Elinor is also an early riser. She says ,at first, it was difficult to stay disciplined without the pressures of a rigid school schedule. She started staying up late and sleeping in, which made her extremely sluggish in the mornings. For Elinor, tiredness led to flagging motivation, and activity was scarce. 

Martina., captain of this year’s IASAS badminton team, is also finding ways to circumnavigate the hurdles posed by quarantine restrictions on her fitness. She is inspired by her brother, who is working hard to make IASAS next year. Other external motivators like being a good captain to her team, keep her motivated to complete her workout routine.

Like Martina, Jahaan, a Junior and Captain of IASAS tennis, is preparing for next year’s IASAS tournament. Jahaan thinks “this is the best time to get ahead and put in extra work” before he heads back to the tennis courts after quarantine. To stay active, he uses a Nike workout app, but encourages athletes to find what works for them. 

Finally, Mia, an 11th grade IASAS tennis athlete, is staying motivated with her friends. They set workout challenges which drive achievement. She uses youtube to search for workout activities. Mia’s favourite fitness-focused channel, Chloe Ting, is a popular youtuber focused on strength training and health advocacy. 

In conclusion, continue to encourage hope, where that is possible. You can stay fit during lockdown, even if at times your situation seems bleak. It is important now, more than ever, to stay active, stay motivated, and stay hopeful