Self Care: Exercise

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PSX_20160617_145910Hippocrates said “Walking is man’s best medicine”. We have written a few blog posts about how exercise is medicine and the perks of limiting sedentary behaviour. I think there is a lot of “Fitspo” out there that makes us feel like we have to have a ton of fancy equipment or programs in order to achieve our activity goals. Unless you are training for a specific event or goal, generally any form of physical activity is beneficial. Physical activity is a broader category that includes any way you move your body to expend energy. Exercise is more specific and targeted in order to specifically manipulate body physiology. So all exercise is physical activity, but not all physical activity is exercise.

I get asked a lot what type of exercise is the “best” – generally my answer is “the one you will do”. More routine physical activity will help you to maintain your strength and agility which translates to fewer chronic diseases and the ability to live independently for a longer time.

My Current Routine

I am lucky in that I have always loved exercising and I don’t usually lack motivation to get a sweat on.¬†Before COVID-19, I typically did 1-2 OrangeTheory classes a week, 1-2 spin classes a week, and 1-2 yoga classes a week. I worked a desk job 5 days a week and taught 7 fitness classes a week. I usually average 12000 steps a day, but on days I teach fitness I can easily get closer to 20 000. In March, I was avoiding group classes a little bit more before everything was shut down was trying to focus on 1-2 runs outside a week as I prepared for a 10km. Since most fitness studios were shut down March 16 I have been working out at home doing some body weight circuits. I have been using the Nike Training Club app for yoga and HIIT circuit style workouts. I rented a spin bike from my local spin studio and have been spinning in my living room every day for the last week (you can see the spike in my activity in the last week below).

Oura Ring Scores

Interestingly,¬† my “Readiness score” has gone down by 4% since the beginning of March. My average “Activity score” and “Sleep Score” haven’t changed over the past month.

activity vs readiness feb 2020

activiy vs sleep feb 2020

The two week lull starting mid-March is when my fitness classes were cancelled due to COVID-19 and I had not completely figured out how to exercise at home. I have since gotten a spin bike and am sweating every day!

New Strategies

  1. Build Your Fitness –> Build Your Strength –> Build Your Speed*
  2. Build Your Mobility
  3. Be a 24h Athlete
  4. Move in Nature**
  5. Use it or Lose It

* in the Ripple Effect, these are three separate strategies. I have a relatively good basis of fitness (last VO2max test was 50mL/kg/min) and am limited by the current COVID-19 situation with what weights I can access.

** Moving in nature is a limited due to current social distancing guidelines. I chose not to emphasize this one because people are currently not following those guidelines in Toronto. I wrote another blog post about the benefits of being in nature, you can check that out here.

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