How has the pandemic been for you? Are you feeling down and depressed about the current situation? Do you feel challenged getting up in the morning? Maybe you’re now working from home and you’ve become a little more relaxed? Are you going to work (your computer desk at home) with just a dress shirt and pajamas on? Maybe it just doesn’t feel the same, zoom calling your co-workers and talking about the latest show on Netflix. Have you felt that same jolt of energy in the morning after working out?
A survey was done on 1,000 people during the pandemic and asked questions regarding their mental health. Out of the 1,000 people, 63% said that their anxiety and depression has worsened since the start of the pandemic. Stressful major events in life are the leading cause to depression with people. What has been more stressful than the current situation? Social unrest, job loss, social distancing and even the fact we can’t see a smile on a persons face, all correlate with a very challenging way of life. Depression has been severe since the beginning, and there have been many troubling stories of people ending their lives in the past year. The significance of a small conversation with a loved one, can not be stressed enough at this time. We are all on this together and this is one way to help others deal with the anxiety.
As with drinking, it has been used more and more, with 29% of people saying that they are drinking more during the pandemic. When you drink, it causes a false sense of safety in your body as it acts as a depressant and dulls your senses. Alcohol also interferes with your nerves and slows down their response time, which obviously impairs your body and gives you that sense of euphoria. In moderation, there are benefits to alcohol, but in excess, it’s a different story. Which of course is the current situation with the pandemic. Now what happens when you mix exercise into your regimen? There are actually studies that show, people who drink (but are also regularly exercising) actually can reverse the trend of brain damage. Obviously there is more research to be done, but a positive situation for those that mix the two! Not to mention the possibility of a consistent regime of exercise leading to a healthier lifestyle altogether. If you exercise, you might think again at opening another beer, after seeing how much running it takes to burn 100 calories!
Over the past year I’ve struggled with my fitness regime. Heading into the pandemic, I felt like I was starting to get back to myself again. The year of 2019, I often drank too much and ate a little more than I should have. At the start of 2020, I started to look at pictures of myself during my travel. I could start seeing more weight around my body and even more so when I looked at my face. My face started to look fuller than previous years. I knew I had to make a change. At the start of the year, I decided to get back into the gym. Pushing to get back into my routine in the morning and cutting back a bit on my beer consumption. 3-4 times a week I would get on the treadmill and spend 30 minutes running before work. The other couple of days would be consistent with different resistance training exercises. I started to lose weight and began to notice it when I looked in the mirror. Friends and family started to notice too. Often commenting that I looked more energetic and a bit slimmer. I was feeling better than ever to get back to my old self again! This was before March.
March came along and we were hit hard with an immediate shut down. Gyms started to close down for safety requirements. The looting began and then retailers started to close down. As a store manager, I was the only person left in my store every day. Making sure to check for building security, and conference calls on what to do as we got ready to reopen. It was tough. It was tough from a wellness perspective. Both mind and body started to suffer. I was lucky enough to get some weights and a bench at a retailer before everything shut down. I kept to a pretty basic regimen, but the stress started to take its toll, and I found myself skipping days at times along with very little cardio to go with it. The liquor flowed a bit more in my house, almost like I was a bartender not open to the public! After a year of inconsistency and a wedding to finally prepare for, I needed to make a change.
My fiancé was also ready to make a change. In February this year we finally broke down and purchased a treadmill. I can’t believe what this investment has done with my mind and body. We went back and forth on the big purchase. Not needing to add an extra expense with a large amount of money already being spent on our wedding. We were so glad that we broke down and decided that we needed it. We placed it in our garage and started to make our own gym. The treadmill, workout bench and various weights were surprisingly optimal for my fitness venture. My fiancé found the same, starting to consistently jump on the treadmill before work or on days off.
Each morning, I took to my previous regime. Waking up early morning to review work reports, have my coffee and then off to the gym for 45 minutes to an hour. Doing cardio 3-4 times a week and then also adding resistance training back into the mix. It’s been so surprising how good I feel feel after a workout. Along with that feeling, the every day health benefits have accumulated. The huffing and puffing I did previously to get up stairs at work has been minimized. I now have a bit more of a zip in by step! I also started to get back to my old self mentally. Writing more and thinking through things more methodically. When I skip a day, I feel it. I feel like I’m letting my mind and body down. I feel almost lethargic. It’s so surprising the effect that this simple home gym has had on me.
What are you waiting for? I waited a bit longer than I should have to get my life back. I thought it wouldn’t be the same with a gym in my garage, as it was previously going to the gym each day. Somehow the routine of going to another area to workout, still feels like I’m leaving for the gym. There isn’t a vast amount of equipment needed to make it work either! It’s simple, my total equipment in my gym cost me less than $1000. The treadmill was the priciest investment, but the most worthwhile. I purchased a treadmill on Amazon for around $600 and set it up myself. It was very simple to go through the instructions and most items were already set. This can be interchanged with an elliptical or exercise bike, as long as it helps you with cardio. The resistance bands were also from amazon, going up to 50 lbs. in weight. I placed a two by four on the wall and attached several key holes to change different heights based the muscles I wanted to work. The bench and weights just add different variations to what I want to do. I know there are plenty of people getting stimulus money at the moment. Invest this money in yourself. Invest in your mental and physical health. When it comes down to it, it’ll pay dividends in the long run. You’ll start feeling just a bit better each day and get back on track with your life. So again, I’ll ask, what are you waiting for? A trip to your home gym can be just as good as your old gym used to be!