By Malia Warren
We all know how 2020 went where gyms were concerned: closed doors in April 2020.
Some gyms turned to Zoom to offer class instruction, hit the outdoors for some socially distanced group fitness, but nothing could replace the 4 walls of our second home.
Most in the U.S. were open again after a few months with new health and safety precautions, while some shut down for good.
This heartbreaking realization that places of fitness, providing communities that promoted a healthy lifestyle, were suffering was just one of the ways that Covid wrecked havoc on the world.
Gyms in the U.K didn't open again until almost a year later in April 2021. Can you imagine not having your gym open for a year? Fast-forward to August 2021 and health care officials are talking about shutdowns again due to a fast mutating and highly contagious variant of Covid.
While I am not excited about any place of fitness closing their doors due to Covid, I'm here to provide you with some other activities to try to keep your mind and body healthy. As it happens, I started this article in 2020 and was prepared to ditch it until recently. These suggestions are just too good not to share and can be helpful whether we shut down or not - even just on a holiday when your gym is closed for the day.
1. Don't Complain
Pretty much a no-brainer option here, but complaining about your gym being closed is literally doing zero good. You can go to your state capital and complain, but it's very unlikely that any kind of griping is going to directly result in a gyms' doors being open again. Instead, trying to advocate for the positives that fitness and health give to the community.
I will never understand why officials would want to close a gym when their main goal is to pump out healthy habits and sweat out questionable choices. With proper sanitization and distancing, the gym is probably one of the best things we can do for ourselves during a pandemic. Lest, I digress.
2. Take a Hike
I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can bear! *cue dancing princess in the open field asking for freedom and adventure* Luckily, the outdoors and fresh air have always been a safe place for your body to be, pandemic or not. Look up local hikes on AllTrails.com, pack a snack or lunch, and hit the trails! Check ahead of time to make sure that you're not hitting a busy trail on a crowded day - packed trails and parking lots are not as fun as empty ones. Enjoy the view and the opportunity for physical and mental health improvement.
3. Read a Book
Take a look, it's in a book, Reading Rainbowwwwwww. Ok, ok, ok, I'll stop. But never underestimate the benefits of a good book. I tend to lean toward sci-fi, fantasy, fiction books, but even if you pick up a good biography or a self-improvement book, it's a proven fact that reading is good for you. According to Healthline.com, research shows that regular reading:
- improves brain connectivity
- increases your vocabulary and comprehension
- empowers you to empathize with other people
- aids in sleep readiness
- reduces stress
- lowers blood pressure and heart rate
- fights depression symptoms
- prevents cognitive decline as you age
- contributes to a longer life
I mean.... for those benefits alone, can I just read all day, every day? Set aside 15-20 minutes a day, whether or not your gym is closed, and delve into a good book.
4. Clean the top of your Fridge
Not even kidding. You probably just now remembered, while reading this, that it could use a good cleaning. While you're at it, toss out the half-eaten salad bag that, no, you probably won't eat.
5. Write a Letter to an Old Friend
This too, not kidding. Remember the days before emails and texts and Facebook? No? You're too young to be reading this blog then. Just kidding, just kidding. But truly, bust out a piece of nice stationary and write a letter, or two, to some friends you haven't talked to in a while, throw a stamp on it and put it in the mail.
First, writing is great release for stress, which in turn . Second, it's always nice to connect with old friends. And last, think of how you would feel if you got a handwritten note in the mail - doesn't that sound so amazing!?
6. Buy some Home Gym Equipment
Ok, this one might be tough because of material shortages in every industry, but try to get your hands on some home workout equipment. You can look on YouTube or a Facebook group for some workouts, but having the equipment at home is great for any time you want to bust out in a good sweat without leaving the house.
Check out the Facebook Marketplace for some possible second-hand equipment, or even some garage sales. I could give you 10 different exercises to do with a single dumbbell right now, they're that versatile. If you have the budget, spring for a Peloton bike! Home cycling has never been so popular as it was in 2020. Snag the Peloton monthly program for programs like Yoga, Strength, and more than just cycling!
7. Adopt a Shelter Pet
One of my favorite options here. If you have the time, and the love, adopt or foster a shelter animal. You're at home, locked in a proverbial cage, and they're at the shelter, behind cold, ugly bars - why don't you just get together and enjoy life? Be sure to check out local shelters and rescues to find your next furry friend!
I know the goal is to distance from people but you can still give back to your local community by volunteering. You can definitely burn some calories helping out as a food runner in a homeless shelter or cleaning up trash in city parks.
9. Donate Clothes and Junk
Do it. Go through all your things and just Marie Kondo it all. Except for that one shirt, you need it for when the weather turns. Or those pants for when you hit the goal weight? Ok, ok, I'm horrible at getting rid of stuff but O.M.G when I do its so relieving. You don't have the "no time" excuse anymore to go through your stuff so get out some trash bags and get to it!
10. Try something New
Check out our most recent post on 5 Other Fitness Activities you need to try for some motivation. Even if its not fitness-related, trying something new can also mean howling at the moon at 8pm, stargazing with picnic in the park, or trying a wine and paint night (virtual options available!). Get out of your comfort zone and take this time to try new things.
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What did you do when your gym was closed?
Malia is the force behind Lifting the Dream and a proud mompreneur. When she's not lifting heavy weights, she's probably at the beach or Disney with her family. She is a Cali girl born and raised, with salt water in her veins and sunshine in her heart. She and her family now reside in Florida soaking up the sun, heat, and all the amazing outdoor activities this state has to offer.