As mandatory Covid restrictions relax due to increased vaccination rates, opportunities to return to your regular exercise routines are now possible. You may wish to renew your gym subscription or decide to join a new one. Programs include access to a variety of exercise machines that have been designed to strengthen every muscle group in your body. You may also feel ready to join classes or sports leagues offered as well. Classes vary in intensity and include yoga, dance and movement classes with weights, Zumba, dance-cerise and more.
You have the option to wear your medical mask throughout your class or exercise program. Gyms are also well stocked with hand sanitizers, and sanitizing sprays to wipe down any equipment you use before and following your work-out.
The health benefits are immediate and immense. You will likely find an increase in energy and a subtle adjustment to your overall muscle tone within days of returning to your former exercise programs. The body has memory for health and your muscles will quickly return to your former state given the opportunity to work them again.
Your mood will also improve immediately. You may find yourself feeling much like your pre-Covid self. This feeling may include a sense of levity, relief from a general sense of malaise and that “the covid-fog” is finally lifting. Many people have reported feeling more tired than usual in response to necessary, yet imposed restrictions on regular activities of daily living. Some people have slipped into a mild or moderate depression during these past two years in recovery from Covid, especially individuals who live alone and have had radical disruptions to socialization with people at work, friends, and family. Episodes of anxiety have also increased. Although face-timing technologies have lessened the impact of social isolation, meeting in person is qualitatively different than seeing someone’s face virtually.
Many of you work for corporations that merged to virtual platforms with integrative Zoom or Microsoft team technologies. One on one and group meetings occur online where only one’s face is present. The impact of working in a manner that dissociates one’s body from professional tasks may have had a greater impact on your well-being than you might have imagined.
When you worked in an office, and had the occasion to meet with people in the boardroom, in their office, at the water cooler, or at a desk, one’s face was obviously attached to the rest of the human body. In fact, the tasks of work were corporeal in nature that is performed in and with your body. After two years of mainly sitting, and in some instances standing at your desks on an almost full-time basis, you may in fact be in need of prescriptive exercise programs aimed at restoring your muscle mass, coordination, and overall cardio, digestive, and respiratory health.
The health benefits that you will feel once you start moving again are guaranteed to make you feel better in mind, body, and spirit. Encouraging a friend to join with you or to participate in your exercise classes increases the fun and promotes health in people you love best!
Dr. Lisa Romano-Dwyer BSc, MSW, PhD, RSW