I Am Exercising Less in Quarantine—And that Is Acceptable
I am exercising less in quarantine—and that is acceptable. In these last few months, COVID-19 has disrupted many of the routines and norms that were baked into my life without question before, and one of those routines is fitness. My motivation to workout seems to decline with each passing day, which is unusual for me, a committed runner with a history of chronic overexertion.
But while I am not used to this slower pace, I think it's what my body needs right now—permission to calm the frenetic activity and replace it with stillness or gentle movement. Perhaps my desire to workout will increase again in time, but until then, I will not impose rigid physical demands on myself. I will be gracious to my body, no matter how much exercise it receives.
Why It's Acceptable to Exercise Less in Quarantine
This pandemic has caused turmoil, anxiety, fear, chaos, and uncertainty to be exacerbated. Steady jobs and income feel precarious. Social connections feel detached. Even basic safety and health feel unpredictable. These tension points encumber the mind and tunnel deep inside the body which can lead to inertia or fatigue.1 As a result, this link between mental stress and physical depletion could manifest itself in a number of ways, such as low incentive, energy, or stamina to exercise. That is currently true for me, and I am learning to rest into the inertia rather than push back against it.
Of course, a balanced fitness regimen is important to build strength and resilience, but it's also a natural response to lose interest or momentum for exercise if the mind and body are suffering burnout. So in this particular season, I must listen to my body as it communicates the need to pause the activity and refresh itself from within. Considering my obsessive tendencies with fitness in the past, this is by no means simple, comfortable, or familiar—but it's how I choose to love myself right now.
How Exercising Less in Quarantine Looks for Me
Under normal circumstances, I prefer intense cardio workouts that leave me dripping sweat and feeling accomplished, but lately, I am drawn to the controlled, precise, and deliberate movements of yoga. I need a form of exercise that reminds me to breathe into each posture, slow down the impulse for haste, and release all expectations of athleticism or performance. If I am unable to hold a certain pose or twist my body at a specific angle, I honor that and look for modifications.
A yoga practice is a bridge of connection between the mental and physical, so the more awareness I create for these unique but entwined pieces of myself, the healthier I feel. Although I now move at a decelerated pace, my wellbeing has noticeably improved. I am exercising less in quarantine—and that is acceptable.
- Kocalevent, R., et al, "Determinants of Fatigue and Stress." British Medical Journal Research Notes, July 20, 2011.
Schurrer, M. (2020, May 14). I Am Exercising Less in Quarantine—And that Is Acceptable , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, July 13 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivinged/2020/5/i-am-exercising-less-in-quarantine-and-that-is-acceptable
Author: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
Okay, you calmed me down. I just can't bring myself to fitness right now. It's not so much laziness, but a strong reluctance. I guess I just need some rest, both physical and emotional. And then I'll love cardio and HIIT again.
Hi, Betsy. Thank you for reaching out with your comment! It's so important to listen to what your body needs right now and be kind enough to honor those needs. Well done—your insights are spot-on!