The recent COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world both in how we view it, how we interact with it and how we view each other. The highly infectious novel virus has spread around the world to every continent excluding Antarctica and has infected tens of millions worldwide. More than a billion people worldwide have been forced to at one point or another go into a full or partial lockdown due to the impact of the virus which is currently revving up and gathering steam going into this 2020 fall and winter season.
How Long Can We Expect This to Last?
Locally in Canada, we have been faced with partial lockdowns in at least some capacity ever since the month of March and experts warn that physical distancing regulations may not be lifted until next year or possibly even later. There is also disagreement among scientists as to whether or not a development of a COVID-19 vaccine will be the end all be all for the pandemic. The moment at which a vaccine is developed and begins to be distributed does not signal the end of the pandemic or life returning to “normal”.
Bill Gates who is in the midst of creating a potential vaccine said during a luncheon of the Economic Club in Washington, D.C that the best case-scenario for first world countries is a return to normal by 2022. This unfortunately means that we are stuck in this mess until effective distribution and application of the vaccine will drop new infection rates to near zero and restrictions can be fully lifted knowing that the vast majority of the population is no longer susceptible to infection.
The Consequences for Us - The Numbers
The impact that has reverberated from this pandemic has been immense. Businesses province-wide have been forced to close their doors; everything from dine-in restaurants to office spaces to movie theatres and those that have stayed open have had to adapt by shifting their workforce to remote employment or having to cut down their operations by laying staff off and restricting the number of customers. The CERB, the government’s response to Canadians losing work in lieu of the pandemic has received more than 27M applications as of Oct 2020 which totals to more than $80B paid out to the general population. Small businesses have also suffered severely in Canada putting the middle class in danger with small businesses disproportionately reporting greater revenue reductions compared to large corporations.
This in fact is massive since according to statistics by the government of Canada, 99.8% of Canadian businesses are small to medium sized firms with less than 500 employees and represent 90% of workers employed in the private sector.
A Physical and Mental Health Perspective
Our lives have increasingly become less physical and more focused on using mental labour for us to earn our living. While this is good for those of us who don’t have to break our backs working in the fields or in the factory like before, this has led to unforeseen consequences. Nowadays, we are more obese than ever before with only 14% of Canadian adults qualifying as obese (BMI greater than 30) in 1978 yet that number climbing to 28% in 2014. A startling 64% of Canadians were overweight or obese as of 2017.
This deterioration in physical fitness has also led to a rise in previously very rare ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Other health consequences include increased risk of sleep apnea, osteoarthritis (the deterioration of our bone mass), kidney disease and can lead to problems during pregnancy.
The mental health side effects though can be felt just as greatly. Chronic social isolation has been found to increase the risk of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and substance abuse which in turn all negatively impact the physical aspect. One of the easiest ways to solve this is to get up and start exercising.
The Key To Freedom Right Under Your Nose
Humans are made to move. Our bodies aren’t designed to spend the day sitting on a couch or a chair at a desk typing away at a computer with lines of code that mean nothing to us besides the fact that we know that we will be rewarded with what we need to pay for all our living expenses.
Simply getting up and going for a brisk walk in the evenings and mornings without even needing to speed up for a jog or run can have profound impacts on both your physical and mental state. Going outside is also a major positive contributor to our mental health with studies showing it reduces our anxiety, lifts our mood and even improves our memory and ability to focus. Although, of course, you probably already know that.
Exercising - A Powerful Medicine
Exercising has been shown to improve sleep, cognitive ability, bone and musculoskeletal health and even decrease the risk of illnesses such as osteoarthritis and dementia. A study discovered that exercising in the morning gives the most profound benefits with participants who exercise regularly in the mornings experiencing the greatest benefits to their overall mood as well as sleep. Of course, the type of exercise that you choose to participate in is up to you and depends on your current condition as well as aspirations and goals.
Exercises such as jogging, swimming, playing sports, going to the gym or even doing home improvement all by yourself, such as basement renovation or roof repair are all acceptable options. The only issue comes up with restrictions posed by COVID-19 which have recently forced indoor fitness centres and gyms to close once again and have pools operating at a limited capacity. That is why it is incredibly important to be self-sufficient and uphold your fitness without having to rely on anyone or anything beside your own will and determination.
Creating the Ideal Environment for Fitness
The recent restrictions on fitness has led to an increase in popularity in home gyms. Home gyms are convenient because of their personalized approach in which you can have machines suited to your fitness needs. Maybe you want to focus on the upper body? Lower body? Maybe you just want a general full-body workout or perhaps you’re focused on cardio because you’re concentrated on weight loss.
All of those options are possibilities with your own personalized home gym. Whether you have a spare room in the house, a basement or a garage. The beauty of this setup is that you aren’t bound by COVID regulations or the weather. All you have to do is get out of bed, put on your T-shirt and shorts and start that journey towards your goal. A home gym needs to be a place in which you feel comfortable to be yourself and not feel held back by any sort of external pressure.
For a large assortment of gym equipment at various price points to fit your needs, visit https://www.fitnessavenue.ca today to learn more about your options! As the title suggests, if you want to stay fit, strong and sane during this COVID-19 era, exercise is one of the best ways out! If you ever feel discouraged, just remember that: “A journey of 10,000 miles begins with a single step.” (Lao Tzu).