• Hadi Shabbir

Exercising During the Pandemic

Updated: Jun 5, 2021

The pandemic has negatively impacted many lives, disrupting routines and forcing people into a new reality. COVID-19 has caused gyms to close nationwide, but one state, in particular, has had them shut down since July. California has not reopened gyms since their initial shut down, but still allows people to exercise indoors with a personal trainer. This allows wealthier individuals to simply hire a personal trainer in order to exercise, something poorer citizens lack the option to do, negatively impacting their health/lives. Chronic conditions are higher amongst low-income individuals. Gym closures worsen the health conditions among groups that are not able to afford a personal trainer. The continued lack of exercise is costing lives.

Among households with an annual income below $75,000, 62% stated that they did not have access to safe outdoor exercise. This creates a significant public health risk by worsening the rate of chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and higher cholesterol. The global prevalence of physical inactivity exceeds 30%, with its effects on physical and mental health causing over three million deaths annually even prior to COVID-19. According to the CDC, 42% of American adults are obese, and the lack of safe places to exercise will only cause that number to rise. Regular exercise reduces obesity and is needed to fight COVID-19.

Cardiovascular complications have been present in more than 15% of hospitalized cases of COVID-19. One prominent complication is myocarditis. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle. It affects one's heart muscle and the heart's electrical system, reducing the heart's ability to pump and causing rapid or abnormal heart rhythms. The closure of communal sporting facilities such as swimming pools and gyms has depleted options for exercise, leading to a surge in inactive behavior. Instead of merely encouraging exercise, individuals should be urged to avoid inactivity whenever possible. After catching COVID-19, one should wait up to seven days following the resolution of their symptoms before exercising again. Following those seven days, one should make a progressive return to activity over the next seven days to avoid falling into inactivity.

Despite the gym closures, exercises can be done at home. For example: going for a walk, running, or biking. But for those interested in doing bodyweight exercises, these exercises can help.

Push-ups: Rotate your body so the left arm extends over your head and your body forms a T. Repeat on the other side after the next push-up. Aim for two sets of 10-12 reps.

Floor bridges: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Push into your heels and slowly raise your hips off the ground until your knees, pelvis, and shoulders are in line. Aim for two sets of 10-12 reps.

Lunges: To do this, extend your left leg to the side and bend your right leg, then push off the right leg and balance upright on your left leg with your right leg pulled up. Aim for 12 reps and then repeat on the other side.

Chair dips: Hold on to the seat of a chair and put your feet about 18 inches away from the chair. Bend your arms and lower your hips toward the ground, then straighten your arms. Aim for 10-15 reps and repeat up to five times.

While working out from home is not ideal, it is important to continue exercising for health-related purposes. Staying active and fit is the key to reducing obesity and one’s chances of developing severe COVID-19. A gym membership isn’t necessary to stay active.


Speaking Plainly

  • The lack of exercise is costing lives.

  • It is vital to remain active and avoid being inactive.

  • Despite gyms being closed, people can still exercise at home without needing any equipment.