The on-going COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed the way we live - more drastically than most of us would have thought.
With movement restrictions, lock-downs and closures all over the world, life has indeed become very different from what most of us were accustomed to.
At the same time, there also appears to be some silver linings beneath all these disruptions and challenges.
From a fitness perspective, I have noticed a number of lessons from this episode, and I would love to highlight some of them.
1) Our Body Is The Only Gym We Need
With practically zero access to commercial gyms, workout studios and training facilities during the lock-down period, many people are suddenly faced with the stark and frightening reality that their workout routines are NEVER going to be the same again! And together with this realization, many have begun re-discovering bodyweight training all over again - and in a really good way!
Although body weight training has been around for ages - think of the Ancient Greeks and Romans - this form of training has mostly taken a backseat to more conventional, equipment-based training methods in our modern human history.
And this, at least to me, is really unfortunate, taking into account the numerous benefits and advantages that bodyweight training has - none more than it being such a natural and functional form of human activity and expression.
So, with this mind, I'm more than thrilled to see bodyweight training finally getting some recognition and respect during these challenging times.
As one who has always extolled the merits of bodyweight training, it is literally a joy to see more and more fitness enthusiasts and the general exercising public falling-back on traditional bodyweight exercises such as: push-ups, squats, pull-ups, lunges, dips and their manifold variations to get their fitness routines back on track!
Indeed, Nature has equipped us with the very BEST gym that we'll ever need in the form of our very own Physical Body - and may we continue to cherish it and harness its innate potential for our various exercise needs!
2) Everyday Household Objects Can Make Great Exercise Tools
Besides using our own body weight, this pandemic has also brought out the brilliance and ingenuity in our Human Mind to conceive ways to work around the lack of fitness equipment in our workout routines.
In fact, if we were just to look around our homes thoughtfully, we'll find that there are actually many household items that could serve as makeshift fitness equipment lying idly around. These we can always use to tone, hone and sculpt our bodies even in periods of self-isolation and quarantine like now.
With some ingenuity, common everyday household objects like chairs, stairs, towels, water bottles, haversacks, soup cans and even our laundry basket can all double as fitness equipment and provide us with an excellent improvised home workout routine - if only we allow our imagination and creativity to flow! For instance, a chair can play the role of a workout bench and allow us to do movements like bench dips, incline push-ups and supported squats, a towel can be used for movements like curls or rows, a haversack can serve as a weighted vest, a flight of stairs to be used for cardio work while water bottles and soup cans allow us to duplicate practically any dumbbell exercise on the planet!
So, with all these in mind, the next time you look around your home, do allow your imagination and creativity to run free. And I'm pretty sure you'll NEVER find yourself running short of fitness ideas or workout equipment ever again!
3) We Are Limited Only By Our Imagination And Creativity
As earlier mentioned, the creative genius that resides in all of us can indeed be summoned up in times of need, as seen in the use of common household objects as substitutes for conventional training tools, and in the creative use of our own bodyweight in our workouts.
In the same vein, I have also been very encouraged and impressed by the various media reports of how people run "full marathons" in their living rooms, "swim" virtually on their kitchen tops, dance and groove away on rooftop car parks etc during the ongoing lock-down.
Such boundless imagination and inventiveness truly epitomize our human spirit and potential to rise and shine during these trying times.
4) Simplicity Is Bliss
With the world turned upside-down by COVID-19, another thing that I've noticed during this time is that this period of uncertainty has certainly nudged many to simplify and re-evaluate their lives.
And I'm not just referring to one's material wealth or career decisions, but also to one's perspective of fitness and exercise.
For too long and too often, many have the misconception that the more complex, more sophisticated, or more choreographed a fitness workout is, the more effective it is.
However, the truth is far from that. More often than not, the more effective a workout is, the SIMPLER it is in design, approach and execution!
For instance, not many workout routines can quite beat the simplicity and effectiveness of a circuit training drill made-up of squats, push-ups, lunges and pull-ups in working almost the entire body at one-go! Simple - yes. Effective - definitely!
So, doing away with the unnecessary fluff and stuff in our fitness routines may be the next best thing that we can do for our fitness down the road.
And as the world continues to battle COVID-19 on all fronts, our pursuit of fitness will also have to evolve based on how the situation unfolds down the road.
And if the above is any sort of indicator, we should be heartened and glad that we - humankind - will be more than capable of triumphing over this pandemic - come what may!