The ongoing pandemic has certainly brought with it a continued stream of cancellations this year. COVID-19 is the unfortunate culprit of recent delays to the New Jersey winter high school sports season, in-person extracurricular activities and many organized team workouts, too. But there is some good news when it comes to these cancellations (yes, some good news in 2020!).
COVID restrictions have increased personal wellness and individualized fitness activity among athletes and the average person looking to stay healthy – and this new way of working out and wellness has many positive long-term health benefits.
So, before you lament your child’s cancelled sports season or your own gym’s modified hours, check out how COVID has forced us all to change our perspective and personal well-being for now and, perhaps for the long haul.
Increased Emphasis on Personalized Fitness Needs and Goals
Think back to pre-COVID times (sigh) and many of us might remember running from activity to activity with little or no free time. Parents and athletes, while longing to get back to their regularly scheduled lives of practices and games now have the perfect opportunity to assess their personal fitness needs and goals. With most team activities on hiatus, research shows an increase in self-reflection and staying active with activities that are meaningful to the individual – like hikes, long walks with your dog, winter walks on the beach, etc. Each of these activities have long lasting benefits on the brain and our mental health.
Increased Fitness Concepts
The ongoing pandemic this winter has also increased the volume of different fitness concepts. For example, students in Oak Knoll’s gym classes recently worked on Biomechanics projects. Here, one student worked on analysis of her posture to help with back pain. Another student conducted an analysis of her cello bowing to help with wrist issues. Lastly, another student worked on analysis of her forehand in tennis while two other students used their fencing experience to study their lunge to make it faster.
Similarly, a competitive softball player who is used to playing travel ball all year long, looking to stay “in the game” might be working on her endurance and stamina by setting a daily running goal for herself. Or if her batting cages are closed, she might be working solo at home on her swings, raising her heartbeat or working on core strengthening.
Working on different fitness concepts now, seem to be the new rage but not just among athletes. Even the average person looking to enjoy a workout can benefit. Participation in different virtual fitness classes, and the sales of personal home fitness equipment has also risen. There are so many options now to stay healthy available to you!
Emphasis on Cooperation, Not Competition
Although athletes thrive on competition, the pandemic has forced many teams to get creative and stay active. Many teams and students in gym class are forced to cooperate with each other differently. One example might be socially distant school gym class groups competing against each other during a jump rope contest. Virtual races, many among runners, are also popular now. A virtual marathon, half marathon or 5K is a great way for a team to stay connected, work collaboratively and even raise money for a worthy cause all while being physically apart.
This socially distant marathon that we are all still living in has forced us all to get creative with fitness. More time spent at home together is forcing more activity among family members to hang out together on walks, hikes, runs or playing a Wiffle Ball game together in the backyard. The virtual world has opened opportunities to join in a variety of activities from around the world. One Oak Knoll gym class, for example, learned about Tininkling. Tininkling is a traditional Philippine folk dance using two long bamboo sticks. Here, two people in rhythm clap the sticks together and apart while one or two jumpers work on routines in the middle.
With many COVID restrictions still in place, it’s forced many of us to get creative with moving our bodies, staying healthy and keeping our sanity. So, although the winter is hard to get motivated (yes, it’s dark outside by 4:30 p.m.) get up, get motivated and get moving. Who knows, along the way you might find some new and fun ways of staying healthy that will stick with you for a long time to come.