Isolation Tool Kit: Moving My Body

And before I start going down the rabbit hole of health, I have acknowledge the obvious: I’m young and generally healthy! I’m incredibly thankful to have a job that lets me work remotely, indefinitely, for the same amount of pay! I’m not a BIPOC, so while my stress levels have gone up recently, they’re nowhere near as high as they could be! I live with my loving boyfriend and generally skew introverted anyway! Isolation definitely suited me in many different ways – but time still takes its toll!

I started quarantine in a very weird headspace.

I was training for the Tokyo Marathon all winter, only to find out that my entry had been cancelled a mere two weeks before the race due to Covid-19. My friends and I then had to weigh whether we should go on this “trip of a lifetime” to Japan anyway, knowing the risks, though we ultimately decided to go. The trip was fun (hopefully I’ll write more about it soon), though the virus was always in the background of every interaction we had. I even spent every morning scrolling through the news to make sure that the U.S. wasn’t closing its borders yet, which would force us to cut our vacation short.

I only wore a face mask maybe half of the time that we in Japan, which is very strange in retrospect!

We returned home (on our originally scheduled flight!) on March 14th. By that time, we, along with Boston and the rest of the country, were on the brink of many big changes.

I had abruptly gone from running 4-5 times a week, to walking all over Japan, to sitting on the couch, unexcited and even scared to go outside to do anything. Likewise, I had abruptly gone from being excited about fulfilling a lifelong dream of going to Japan, to feeling guilty about going abroad while fully knowing the risks, to dealing with the consequences of that decision and adjusting to the United States’s reaction to the pandemic upon arriving home.

The first week was, surprisingly, fine! It was nice to have a week to sit on the couch and decompress from a long vacation. The best way for me to adjust time zones and catch up on work turned out to be from my couch! As time went on, however, my body and my brain started to, figuratively and maybe even literally, turn to mush. My muscles craved movement and my mind needed some kind of stimulation.

After some adjustment, I worked out a couple of healthy habits that I’ve carried with me throughout the rest of quarantine.

Walking

Some of my longer (1 hour or more) walking routes

According to my Strava, I’ve gone on more than 80 walks over the 4 months of quarantine so far! I tried getting 10,000 steps a day at first, but soon realized that walking for 2 hours a day gets incredibly boring! So I’ve been aiming for 1 hour, most days a week, instead.

Coming off of marathon training, I definitely knew that getting fresh air and moving outside would be very important for my physical and mental health. I needed the change of scenery, the sunlight, and the time outside my house in order to not feel cooped up inside my house. They’ve actually been a great way to completely reset myself right after being slouched over my computer all day at work.

I could even feel myself getting grumpier when the weather would be rainy for days in a row and I couldn’t get outside!

I’ve tried running a few times, but it’s honestly difficult to find the motivation with no races on the horizon. My lungs have also had a hard time adjusting to running with a mask on. Walking has been my lifesaver in the meantime!

Zoom Workouts

Again, I fully appreciate the value of moving your body, especially when there’s no reason to leave your house otherwise, so in addition to my walks, I’ve taken many, many online workout classes.

My saving grace has been Zoom workout classes. Having a live instructor and needing to be “on” and ready at a certain time has done wonders for creating structure in my day. It’s also great to schedule in something to look forward to! I tried a couple of Instagram workouts and, while they were fine, I did find that they were a lot easier to skip…

I signed up for most of my classes on Classpass, and took full advantage of classes in studios in faraway places, from boxing studios in New York City to yoga studios all the way in Melbourne and London!

I took online classes at several studios, including:

(And apologies to every instructor who asked everyone to turn my camera on while I pretended not to hear them and kept my camera off!)

YouTube Workouts

While I appreciate the accountability that a live workout provides, sometimes they don’t work out! I’ve been disappointed a handful of times when the instructor’s internet connection cuts out, or a workout requires more specialized equipment than I currently have, or even if I get to the workout and decide it’s not for me! It happens!

But if I’ve already got the time penciled in, and I’m already amped up for a workout, pulling something up quickly on YouTube is always a great substitute.

I’ve been trying out dance classes, …

(though oddly enough, I haven’t picked up Tik Tok!)

… barre classes, …

… and, my favorite, yin yoga!

(I don’t always have the energy for a powerful flow! Sometimes you just need to spend five minutes in child’s pose, you know?)

I very rarely did any workouts in my bedroom before quarantine hit, and it was definitely an adjustment. Now that I’ve figured it out, however, this is definitely one habit that I would love to carry into the rest of my life!

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