Exercise in Response to Idleness

Andrew Bondarev ’22

The recent Coronavirus outbreak has led to a social epidemic of mass isolation and loss of real life human interaction. This loss of connection can lead to increasing amounts of stress, anxiety, and hopelessness in an age where we have all of the novelty we could ever want on the internet, without the relationships we really need. In order to fully battle this predicament, a multi-habit replacement and adjustment would be needed, but a possible first step could be learning to avoid idleness and move. One of the absolutely most effective remedies to battle the constant cortisol influxes and the crises that arise from a pandemic would be simple systems of habitual home exercise. There is a fine line between training and overtraining, but generally, a simple 30-45 minute regimen of movement and increased blood flow to your muscles can lead to a more stable alignment between your mind and physical health. Moreover, a reliable and useful idea regarding home workouts could be progressive overload, which means that you can start with the basics of exercising and progress yourself slowly onto higher intensity movements or loading weight on them. 

From anecdotal and personal evidence, I have personally found a sense of clarity regarding my actions for the rest of the day simply from utilizing bodyweight push-ups, squats, and crunches through my workout regimen. Adding these movements to my everyday life radically changed the way that I perceived my diet, hydration, and sleep patterns. Therefore, emphasizing exercise as an integral part of your schedule during quarantine is a keystone habit that can set off a ripple effect concerning your overall health. 

You can gradually start getting a wider variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole foods in your diet as a result of creating discipline in what you consume and act out. My personal experience also indicated that once I began implementing this routine multiple times on a weekly basis, I had no desire to drink any harmful and high-calorie sodas or brand-name coffees. In addition, it allowed me to truly focus on consuming and enjoying the simplicity and satisfaction that comes with water, without the constant dopamine that floods your brain when drinking a high-sugar substance. Lastly, when it comes to sleeping, a completely sedentary lifestyle during quarantine is not ideal and can lead to going to bed and sleeping in significantly later than your average routine, which can negatively impact our school work and overall productivity. This is where I can provide a certain non-dogmatic but honest guideline that can assist with this process of regulating energy levels. If you can get in enough movement to where you are tired enough at 9 or 10 P.M. to go to sleep, then that amount of walking and exercise has reached an adequate level, at least for quarantine. This notion creates a completely new spectrum in terms of the benefits of home exercise or socially distanced walking during this time. 

All in all, the necessity of exercise, no matter how simple it can be, is based on the notion that as human beings, we can use movement as a way to cleanse our minds temporarily from the baggage, boredom, and absurdities that come with living during a pandemic. This is a completely new experience for all of us, but remembering that this place of confinement has good that will come out of it is a decisive factor in deciding to honor our potentials, mentally and physically. Hence, habits created during this time can be catalysts for the people that we become when we exit this pandemic, and thus exercise is a good starting point.