Do What Works For You: Fitness During the Age of Quarantine

Leena Penumalee
Leena Penumalee

Let’s be real – for a long time, making trips from my bed to the refrigerator was the most exercise I got in college. 

As school began to wind down my senior year, I was inspired to focus on my physical health and convinced my aunt to take daily trips to the gym with me. Slowly but surely, I began to incorporate small, but healthy changes to my lifestyle. Stories like mine are not all that conducive to social media – the likes, follows, and numbers always seem to reward the most dramatic body changes or the most healthy/picturesque diets. 

Now that most students are under lockdown and spending more time on social media (I know I am!), it’s become even more important to be able to filter and internalize healthy messaging.

Extensive research, including those cited by the National Eating Disorders Collaboration, has linked consumption of social media to unhealthy body images. During these unprecedented times, when there is an increased focus on maintaining physical health, I remind myself of the importance of maintaining mental health, too! 

These last few weeks have been difficult to say the least. People find themselves uprooted from support networks and now face the challenge to acclimate to a new work and/or school environment. 

As we all navigate these ups and downs together, here are some tips and techniques that have helped me prioritize my health, both physically and mentally:

1. Set small, realistic goals for yourself. 

It can be overwhelming to see all the resources now available online (whether it’s Zoom fitness classes or Youtube workouts). My friends and I have personally loved Chloe Ting workouts. You can also check out FitnessBlender for free cardio and strength videos! However, fitness is very personal, so make sure to put the focus on your health and your body. Sometimes, the goal can be to finish the whole circuit; other days it can be simply getting out of bed 🙂

2. Limit social media intake.

Setting phone-time limits for Instagram and Snapchat has been super helpful for me in the past. Don’t be afraid to lose connections on certain apps. You can still keep in touch with friends via Facetime, text, Zoom, Whatsapp calls. Sometimes, these one-on-one conversations can be even more rewarding!

3. It’s okay to not be okay. 

Whether you’re a student, a stay-at-home mom, or a healthcare worker, quarantine is stressful. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I remind myself of this Active Minds’ mantra. Take a breather. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you need help and remember to be there for each other.

At Active Minds, we are #HereForYou. You got this!