When it comes to people exercising during lockdown, I can’t help but think of a child being told not to do something – and then coming up with a whole range of creative solutions to do it anyway.
“For me, the biggest impact of the lockdown is not being able to bike to work anymore,” says Ivo Näpflin, VP of product development at getAbstract in Lucerne. “At first, I didn’t replace it with anything but started to feel bad after a few days. So now I take regular walks outside and do indoor exercises.”
The sudden lack of a daily structure and the need to re-organize the day-to-day has thrown many off their workout routine. Regular gym-goers miss the camaraderie and sense of community that comes with attending group exercise classes.
getAbstract’s Fort Lauderdale-based Salesforce manager and “Zumba Queen” Julia Rodriguez says she misses being able to go to a “physical place where the music is so loud your only option is to move.” She currently makes do with live streaming classes offered by her local studio.
I can’t help but think of a child being told not to do something – and then coming up with a whole range of creative solutions to do it anyway.
Many of my getAbstract colleagues have started to experiment with various fitness apps or take exercise classes on YouTube.
Belen Häfely, a getAbstract editor who usually doesn’t take to sports, has found that being confined to her couch for days on end made her want to move. She explains: “I have started to do short strength training sessions at home almost every day now – partly out of boredom, and partly because I simply have more time now. This has resulted in me thinking, ‘Why not?’”
What normally gets Thomas Bergen, CEO of getAbstract, moving is competitive spirit. “I love to play tennis, I love to compete – to feel this high when I hit the ball in the sweet spot of the racket. To motivate myself to do anything else is very difficult for me.”
After a couple of days cooped up at home, however, Bergen knew that something needed to change. “We are all working exceptionally hard and need to re-balance our lives,” Bergen said in his daily video message to the company’s global staff.
getAbstract created a workout group on Strava and offered to buy an activity tracker for every staff member willing to join. Instead of running or biking with their local buddies, getAbstract employees in Switzerland now compete and compare distances with their counterparts in the United Kingdom and across the United States.
We are all working exceptionally hard and need to re-balance our lives.Thomas Bergen, Co-founder and CEO
Executive editor Koni Gebistorf looks at the whole workout situation from a humorous side: “I’m still able to do what I used to do, but just a little differently. Instead of running after a soccer ball, I now go running after, um, nothing. Oh, and then there was swimming. I used to swim laps at the pool once a week, but now I’m forced to do it in the lake. If only it weren’t snowing today…”
Kate Slanker, a marketing manager at getAbstract based in Dayton, Ohio, says the crisis has thrown her into a state of “self-reflection” and “self-betterment.” She suddenly finds herself eating healthier, going for runs outside more and even doing planks at home. “I feel an obligation now more than ever to stay healthy and I find myself cherishing my health more – something I took for granted before all of this.”
Kate also stresses the mental benefits of engaging in physical exercise in times of stress like these: “I find myself mentally exhausted but physically wired,” Kate explains. “Working out and moving my body quiets my mind and gives me a break from the chaos and constant stream of news.”
I feel an obligation now more than ever to stay healthy and I find myself cherishing my health more – something I took for granted before all of this.Kate Slanker, Marketing Manager
For anybody who needs more convincing that regular exercise does more than build muscles – and for anybody looking for ideas on how to develop a new workout routine – getAbstract’s got you covered.
In Evolved to Exercise, evolutionary anthropologist Herman Pontzer explains how our evolutionary past as hunters and gatherers has hardwired the need for high levels of physical activity into our bodies. He goes on to show how exercise impacts our brain, immune and nervous system – and that humans will never be able to function at their optimum level without it.
Evolved to ExerciseScientific American
Similarly, David B. Agus, one of the world’s leading physicians, explains the important benefits of regular exercise in his bestseller, The Lucky Years. Drawing from some of the latest research, he states that walking just 20 minutes a day can reduce premature death by 30%. Furthermore, some experts he cites insist that a 25-minute daily walk can add seven years to your life. Agus encourages his patients to keep an exercise log and record the impact physical activity has on their subjective wellbeing – including mood and energy level.
The Lucky YearsSimon & Schuster
Bulletproof founder Dave Asprey shares his personal fitness hacks in his book, Head Strong. His recommendation is to engage in high-intensity interval training: short bursts of high-energy activity, like sprinting or push-ups, followed by slower movement like walking. He also suggests exercising outdoors three to five times each week to maximize the benefits of natural UV light.
Head StrongHarper Wave
For those looking to build a new exercise habit, getAbstract has plenty of resources to accompany you on your journey. Take personal development blogger Stephen Guise’s advice to heart and start with just one push-up a day. By taking steps that are “too small to fail,” you will create a positive feedback loop that will motivate you to continue doing a little bit more day after day.
You can also adapt some of the advice on habit formation eloquently shared by James Clear in his talk, “1% Better Every Day,” to building up an exercise routine. Pick a form of exercise that you truly enjoy. Have a clear plan of where, when and how you will exercise. And, most importantly, stick to a routine: If you miss a day, get back on track the next day. Don’t let yourself miss two days or you will break your chain of progress.
1% Better Every DayConvertKit
Crises can disrupt well-oiled routines and habits, but they can also help us get around to things we’ve always wanted to do. If getting in shape has been one such thing for you, get creative. Hint: No expensive gym memberships required.