Control the Controllables

Did you know jump roping is one of the most beneficial forms of exercise for not just your body, but mind? Jump roping increases coordination, improves bone density and cardiovascular health and burns major calories—not to mention it can be done from the comfort of your own home during quarantine.

With over half a million coronavirus cases and counting across the United States alone, self-quarantine during unprecedented times is a must for Americans. Regardless of location, many have found their lives turned upside down in more ways than one. And with public places like gyms, parks and large gatherings of people being shut down and prohibited, many are at a loss for how to stay active.

Look no further. The vast majority of people have access to some sort of social media; whether it be Instagram, YouTube, or even TikTok, entertainment is accessible and prominent, arguably even more so during the pandemic. More than a platform to post thoughts and opinions, these outlets have become a place for creative workouts and activity ideas for people of all ages and abilities. From 20-minute high intensity interval training videos to popular TikTok dances, it is definitely a shift in how most people view exercise.

“I’ve been trying to stay active but it’s been difficult during these times where we are all encouraged to stay home,” said Jarod De Guzman, a senior sports and exercise science major and a member of Seattle University’s Track and Field team. “I think the biggest challenge for me is being able to change things up and adding variety.”

Jake Nelson
Randi Thoma, mother of a Seattle University student, participates in a Zoom yoga class from her dining room.

The good thing about scouring the internet for ways to stay active is that there is no shortage of content—it just takes time to find out what you prefer and what works best for you. For others, phone apps and pets serve as a daily reminder to take things one step at a time, both literally and figuratively.

Jasmin Barrett, a University of Washington student and Seattle local, has been using her dog as motivation to get up and get moving.

“As a psychology major, I know that exercise is important for your mental health,” Barrett said. “I’ve been combatting the stress of quarantine with non-stop movement! I have a dog, so I walk her a lot.”

Barrett also recommended downloading Downdog, a free application that provides users with a “studio-like yoga experience in the comfort of your home.”

“Downdog has enabled me to keep my mind and body at peace during these times, too,” Barrett said. “It usually costs $7.99 a month but it’s free right now, so I’ve been able to stream live yoga classes from my apartment.”

Downdog is not the only company to omit monthly fees during the pandemic. In fact, most have. Well-known companies like Orangetheory fitness and Barry’s Bootcamp have turned to free, daily videos available for anyone looking to get a sweat on.

Dave Long, CEO of Orangetheory fitness, said the company will not incur mandatory charges at any point throughout the quarantine. In an interview, Long emphasized the communal aspect of his company.

“The community piece is what they’re telling us they miss the most,” Long said. “Our goal is to continue to build a platform with an emphasis on community.”

Jake Nelson
Having fitness equipment at home broadens the types of workouts you can do, but is not always necessary.

If you don’t want to search through YouTube and Instagram pages for workout inspiration or feel like you don’t have adequate equipment to do so, improvise! No weights? No problem. Use anything you have access to, like a jug of water or even a wine bottle. For some of the most effective workouts, equipment is not necessary or is minimal at best. If space is an issue, stationary exercises are viable options. Worried about noise in an apartment with neighbors below you? No-noise, low-impact workouts await. The options are endless, and creativity is only increasing as more and more fitness gurus have been confined to the walls of their homes.

Beyond its immunity-boosting effects, exercise is a great way to take your mind off the negativity and devastation pervading the world today. There has been a massive shift in mindset to “controlling the controllables,” and your body is one of the best—if not the best—controllables to control during the pandemic.