How to Exercise During Covid When You Don’t Want to Work Out Alone

How to Exercise During Covid When You Don’t Want to Work Out Alone

If you enjoy team sports as an adult, you’re probably missing the fun and exercise with friends and teammates. I know I do. I miss both the fun and physical activity of team sports during COVID.

I had high hopes coming into quarantine that I would finally have the time to learn to love running. I wanted to stay in shape for whenever my sports leagues resumed.

Like probably many of you, I don’t inherently like exercising.  Actually, I find it to be more of a chore. Something I should do. But I’ve always been active in sports with friends, which has been my saving grace in keeping me sane.

Missing a sense of community

For my entire life I’ve relied on organized sports and clubs to keep me active. Meeting others for games keeps me engaged several times a week all year round. I have found community in the clubs I’m involved with and have developed lasting friendships within them.

There is a kind of accountability that my friends and teammates expect of me and I’ve used that as motivation to show up and do my best. In turn, this has helped me stay in shape, feel more mentally acute, and to develop friendships wherever I’ve lived.

No motivation to exercise during covid?

For the past five months, though, I’ve struggled with finding the motivation to exercise on my own.  Without a schedule in place or friends to work out with, I have been finding every excuse to avoid working out and it’s affecting me.

I feel tired, more stressed, and way more lethargic. It’s so much easier to plop down to stream all the shows than it is to lace up my sneakers and work up a sweat. The thing is, I always feel better after exercising. Always. I’ve never regretted an exercise and I experience more energy and mental clarity afterward.

The hardest part for me is just deciding to do something by myself.  For this, I have had to get really creative to find ways to motivate and/or trick myself into moving my body..

3 Tips to enjoy exercise during covid (the coronavirus pandemic)

1. Try Something new (birdwatching anyone?)

I have taken up birdwatching in quarantine and am trying to identify as many bird species as I can at my neighborhood park. (There are hundreds of species in the area!) And, of course, there is an app for that. Check out Audubon (https://www.audubon.org/app) or Cornell University’s Merlin (https://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/)

2.  Use virtual connections to fill the gap.

While not ideal, virtual connections are better than nothing. I treat myself to connecting with friends after a workout. We’re keeping tabs on each other through a shared workout program that we use to encourage and motivate each other. That’s been helpful to maintain our friendships and for mutual support and accountability.

3. Get the dogs out and explore

When all else fails to get me outside, I rely on my dogs to remind me that they need to check on the neighborhood again.  I have also been taking advantage of the lack of tourists in DC and walking around the National Mall (with a face mask, of course).

Staying fit during covid is a challenge: Go easy on yourself

It’s been a tough transition away from my team activities. I’m all the more grateful for the support and encouragement they’ve provided me in the past, but I’ve had to find other ways to stay active without them.

I may not be in the best physical shape of my life but I’m doing ok. I’m doing the best I can right now and learning to accept “good enough”.

If you’re struggling to stay active during quarantine, you’re certainly not alone. It’s normal to feel down and maybe even sad about missing your favorite people and getting a good workout together.

Remember you’ll almost certainly feel better if you can get moving even for a little while. If you’re not up for an hour-long walk, try going for 10 or 15 minutes – a change of air and some sunlight can be so helpful!

Exercise can help us all ease the stress, anxiety and depressing part of dealing with the coronavirus. But if you still feel like nothing you do lifts your spirits, working with a professional can help you get back more joy in life in spite of everything.

We’re here for you.

Call us to talk with one of our therapists: 703-768-6240

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