It is easy to agree that health is important.
It is easy to agree that COVID-19, or any virus for that matter, is important to combat.
I would argue that it is also easy to agree that COVID-19 has left the world fatigued, despondent, and as a whole…a little unhealthy.
“Unhealthy” can mean more than being out of shape. It can mean having an injury, recovering from an intensive surgery that has left your immune system weak, it can mean being sick, and it can mean not being in a general “happy” mental state.
How one becomes unhealthy is specific to them, but is common among everyone. Maybe your aunt is unhealthy because she is in need of a kidney transplant and has to function on specific diet that doesn’t make her feel at her most energetic, or you are an avid mountain biker but haven’t been able to ride for 3 months due to weather or the trails being closed. These scenarios can make you feel unhealthy, and it is common for others to be struggling with similar positions.
More regularly, individuals are dealing with the effects that COVID-19 has had on their health. Whether it is literally recovering from the virus itself, or what we hear about most often at the club – the additional weight put on that has been titled the “COVID-19” – it is without doubt that 2020 has dealt us a tough hand to come out on top of.
Personally, I have felt unhealthier in the last year than I ever have. This has been difficult for me as a fitness professional because I have a duty to promote health, fitness, and wellness to those around me. Going from the Yakima Athletic Club being closed for 6 months, to being open for a short stint, to being closed again, to finally being open and working towards that sense of “normalcy”, it has been difficult to get a rhythm back.
For me, having YAC closed was not just the fact that my gym was closed, it was my lifestyle that closed. Waking up and knowing that people depended on me to be somewhere for 8 hours a day no longer existed. The hustle of trying to fit extra circulars in a work week diminished to trying to fill my day up. The sense of pride and relief once a long, rewarding work week was over now felt like a dull day that just happening over and over again. It was tough.
I knew that others were struggling, too. I knew this because we had never received more phone calls, e-mails, and Facebook/Instagram messages than we did in those months that we were closed. Our members were desperately seeking equipment to use on their own, they wanted to know when we would open, if we would open despite the mandate, if they could pretty please come and use the gym without anyone knowing, etc. I felt connected to our members more than ever because I could tell that they were trying to hold on to their sense of normalcy, too. They did not want to become unhealthy.
It would be easy for me or any of my colleagues to justify why someone should invest in their health. We preach it, we believe it, and we know it to be true.
I do not want to convince you to invest in your health because it would be advantageous to lose extra weight put on as a result of COVID, because that would be me selling you a gym membership or personal training with a one goal outcome.
I want you to invest in your health because yes – it is always good to lose extra weight – but also because it starts a series of events that lead to multiple goals being met, not just one. And THAT is an advantageous investment.
Making a lifestyle adjustment (I say “adjustment” instead of “change” because change seems to have a scary connotation to it these days) like investing in your health might look like starting your day at the gym, then after the gym you feel so good that you decide to have a healthy breakfast, and your healthy breakfast was so filling that now you don’t have to spend money on fast food for lunch, then you are able to use that extra money to support that local business that you have always wanted to try. Even if your day doesn’t go as seemingly perfect as that, you will know that at least you started your day off trying to better yourself and your health.
After writing this article, I decided to wait to post it until the next day so that I could proof read and make changes. I got home around 6pm, just as it was getting dark and cold, really not wanting to do what I knew I SHOULD do – take the dogs on a walk.
I have English Bulldogs, so it’s not as if we are going to walk more than a mile, our route is usually just around the block. I owe it to my dogs to allow them to exercise, and I owed to myself to get burn some extra calories, too. So we went on a walk, and what happened was pretty special.
You see, we do not see a lot of English Bulldogs. The one time that we ran into another one at the dog park it was like our dogs found their long lost twin brother and they couldn’t stop playing. It’s fun to see your dogs play with other dogs of the same breed. I am not sure why, but it’s certainly a fun and memorable day when we get to see another Bulldog. So, as we are nearing the end of our walk, low and behold – we see a man walking towards us with an English Bulldog. I couldn’t believe it. Not only is this breed of dog not notorious for being walked, but it was in our little neighborhood. The dogs sniffed and play-barked at each other before both myself and the other owner continued on our opposing directions, but it was such a fun couple of moments for them.
I thought, “Jeez, if this isn’t a great anecdote to add to my article, I don’t know what is.”
That walk was rewarding in more ways than one. The biggest effect that it will have on me is that now, when I am considering taking my dogs on a walk again, I will be even more motivated to go because I know that there’s a chance to run into our black and white Bulldog friend again. Watching my dogs become that happy to see their lookalike, even just for a moment or two, is well worth it.
Better yet, we are becoming healthier at the same time.
I want to encourage anyone out there who is struggling with any form of “unhealthy” to seriously considering investing in their health. I cannot think of a better time than now, and I seriously mean that, because we are ALL starting over again. It doesn’t have to necessarily be by buying a gym membership, it could be by committing to going on a walk once a week, opting for a side salad instead of tater tots, or simply practicing positive self-talk instead of doubting your resilience.
The world is in recovery mode right now. So we all need to be there for one another. If you are eager to shed the skin of 2020 and feel healthier than ever, I invite you to come see us at the Yakima Athletic Club. We are here for you, and we can’t wait for you to reap the benefits that investing in your health creates.
To your health and happiness,