Fitness while waiting for the world to change

What’s working for me these days? Alongside the noise of frustration about the continued pandemic, fitness is working for me. It continues to lift my spirits and provide energy. Walking and running also give me good reasons to get fresh air and see my neighbourhood.

Strava lets me know that my running pace was recently between 6:45 – 7:15/km and now my average is between 6:15-630/km. I don’t know why I’m running a bit faster, but I like it. I enjoy my runs, regardless of my pace. Especially this time of year, when the mornings are lighter, warmer and I can wear my running shorts. It feels freer than winter running with the many layers. And, much freer than much of the activities that are allowed during the current lockdown. I also wear a mask these days, under my chin if no one is around, but I pull it up if I can’t keep my distance from others. I don’t want others to feel stressed about me running and breathing near them.

Spinning on my indoor bike, has been gratifying too. I’ve mentioned what I like about some of the instructors here. D’Ercole’s “I Am I Can I Will I Do” has followed me on the running path as well. I’ve always said things to myself, such as “this is the best part of your day” when I’m feeling the burn in the later kilometres. Lately, I’ve added “I Am I Can I Will I Do” when I’m trying to keep up a faster pace and my lungs fully engaged. Also, I try to remind myself to smile. Either on the bike or on a run. It really can help when feeling tired and negative thoughts are seeping in. Side note: It’s OK to tell yourself to smile. Not OK to tell another person to smile.

Nicole in sports bra and biking shorts, heart monitor strapped to arm, ready for morning spin on bike to Peloton app (this was Jenn Sherman’s 45 minute mixed tape ride)

In January I did Yoga with Adrienne’s 30 day challenge and I enjoyed it. Since then, I’ve been less consistent. I’ve done the seasonal 108 Sun Salutations and a couple flow classes with my favourite yoga teacher, Lisa V. Her classes often feel like a combination of yoga and strength training so I should probably do more of them. As I’ve mentioned before, as much as I enjoy yoga, it’s often the first form of fitness I let slide.

Since I can’t workout in the park right now with a group and I haven’t been able to go inside a gym like most people since the Before Times, I have still been doing virtual strength and conditioning workouts once or twice a week. Some days, Zooming in for fitness feels a little too much with all the other virtual meetings. But if I get there, I still get a good workout. I don’t see going back inside a gym until we have herd immunity, so it’s important I figure out ways to get my strength training in at home.

The thing is, I need to find another virtual strength and conditioning workout. The gym that I’ve been going to for about 5 years, and continued with through virtual and park workouts in the last year, has made some choices lately relating to how they are handling the lockdown/stay-at-home order. They are choices that I can’t support. I really love the workouts, am fond of some of the coaches and have developed friendships with other members. It’s been very helpful to see friendly faces at the park and on screen. Making this decision truly saddens me. But, while I see that our ICUs are full and they are opening up adult ICUs in Sick Kids Hospital and critical surgeries may be cancelled, seeing some of the rhetoric posted by one of the coaches who manages the place was upsetting. Cate alluded to it in this post. But, even worse, they’ve now posted this:

I don’t think I need to explain that I feel for gyms that have been hard hit by the last year. But, throughout the year, I have seen many other gyms make hard, but ethical choices. I’m not sure if this is legal or not, but it doesn’t seem ethical to me. Not alongside the conditions in hospitals that I described above. Not while teachers and parents are feeling the brunt of having to continue to go back and forth between in school and virtual learning. Not while young people are suffering mentally. Going inside a gym at this time, with the risk of airborne aerosols in such an environment, with the guise of mental health, is not right. It may not be ideal for some, but they can help address the issues they claim to be concerned about by encouraging more walking, running, sprinting (socially distanced), providing more at-home programming, understanding that there other ways through this. Not to mention the risk to the staff that will be working in this environment. And the frustration of many, including myself that this type of behaviour is contributing to the feeling that we are never going to get our numbers under control and the very thing they are so upset about (lockdowns that are affecting their business) are never going to end.

So, my formerly beloved gym is not working for me right now, while I’m waiting for the world to change.

What’s working for you in fitness these days? For me, even in another lockdown, fitness isn’t cancelled. It’s just a little different. I would add fitness to this list:

A list of things not cancelled beside a drawing of a bear. Black lettering on yellow background. Examples of things not cancelled: sunshine, spring, love, dancing, imagination, kindness, conversations and hope.

Note: In the midst of worrying about when we will get our shit together in Ontario, and being frustrated with anti-science, anti-vax, anti-mask rhetoric (like the woman who yelled out her car at my husband and I that “wearing our masks outside would make this go on longer), I am encouraged by reading about amazing scientists, including this woman: who laid the groundwork for the mNRA vaccines. Scientists like this are going to help see us though the finish line and beyond in this pandemic.

Nicole is trying to focus on the things that are working these days, including fitness.

6 thoughts on “Fitness while waiting for the world to change

  1. You are doing so much to stay balanced— I’m so sorry the gym has proven to be so untrustworthy. I feel for gym owners and other small businesses — but asking people to come into the gym at this moment of more infectious variants and completely crumbling health system is unconscionable. I admire your grit.

  2. I agree that your gym’s reopening sounds disingenuous and unethical. Encouraging any patron who is stressed right now to use the facilities means that people with greater medical needs (like Jane S., who posted here a year ago about how having cerebral palsy means that she needs regular exercise to maintain her lung capacity) are at higher risk of getting sick.

    On a happier note, I’m glad to hear about the things that are working for you, like running and spinning! I’ve also been enjoying the nice spring weather where I am.

    1. Thank you Emily and you make an excellent point about Jane S. and others in a similar situation.

      I hope you continue to enjoy the nice spring weather where you are!

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