Thomas Diehl | Tuesday, April 21, 2020
As an avid runner, nothing makes me happier than seeing so many people outside running. It seems like every day I see more and more people taking this quarantine as an opportunity to get outside and run. To me, running is one of the best exercises out there. It doesn’t cost anything (besides purchasing shoes), you can do it anywhere and it’s a great way to take in the outdoors, especially when you’re locked inside. If you have never tried running before, I would encourage you now more than ever to get outside and give it a shot.
In fact, I was originally going to write this article on how running is the greatest form of exercise. However, when I shared this thought with my girlfriend, she wasn’t too hot on the idea. She reminded me that people have very different bodies, and running isn’t the only thing you can do during this quarantine to stay in shape.
Now, I cannot help but speculate whether this is a ploy for her to push her anti-running agenda. After all, she is a swimmer with bad knees and will do anything on this planet to avoid running. But, I must admit, she brought up an intelligent point. Even though it may seem like running is the only form of exercise that one can embark on outdoors at the moment, there are plenty of different ways to get outdoors and stay in shape during this never-ending quarantine.
Go for a walk
I might get some heat for saying this, but walking is one of the best ways to stay in shape right now. No, I don’t mean wear your headband, bring your weights and speed walk with the neighborhood moms. Simply get outside and go for a stroll, whether it’s with your dog, your parents, both or neither. You may not be burning an incredible amount of calories, but it’s a way to just get your body moving off the couch — something that I have found increasingly difficult the longer this quarantine goes on.
There are plenty of websites with different yoga techniques online. If you have a mat, you can go outside in the sunlight and practice some mindfulness and balance. Even if you don’t have a mat, simply grab a towel and lay it in your yard. If you want to practice in your backyard before showing your skills off to your neighborhood, that is completely understandable. I would encourage you to eventually move to the front, though, where you could inspire neighbors and those that run by to give alternative forms of exercise a try.
Believe it or not, YouTube has some fantastic free workouts online. From HIIT to upper body workouts, nearly all of them are equipment free. This is helpful for those of you like me who don’t have dumbells over 20 pounds (can you tell that my family doesn’t lift?). While most people do these inside, they can be great outdoor exercises if you don’t mind your neighbors seeing you.
Nothing screams family time like having the chance to smash a rubber ball off of a net and into your sibling’s face. If you’re lucky enough to own a spikeball set, this is one of the most fun games to pass the time. You can team up against your parents or your siblings and make punishments for the losing team (i.e. they have to make dinner or do everyone’s laundry).
Bring back childhood games
Remember playing kick the can and freeze tag for hours as a kid? Believe it or not, these are actually great ways to get exercise. I learned this the last time I had to babysit — two hours of tag had me limping for the next week. Playing these games with your family can be a fun way to get everyone outside and exercising.
Go for a bike ride
If you own a bike, now is the time to hit the streets for a long bike ride. With few cars on the road, you can bike on streets where there is usually traffic. And if you’re just learning how to ride a bike, the time is certainly now! This could also be a great opportunity to see some of your friends … assuming you stay six feet apart.
I know you may be feeling claustrophobic and bored in quarantine, and it may feel easier to just sit on the couch and binge Netflix. But now is a really good chance to go outside, get exercise and appreciate the beauty of spring. Whether it’s running, playing a childhood game with your family or biking with your friends, there are plenty of ways for everyone to make the most of this quarantine. We shouldn’t just look forward to the end of staying at home — we should still appreciate every day.
Tommy Diehl is a freshman from the Chicago area majoring in science business and global affairs. When he’s not writing for the Observer, he can be found playing guitar, running or cheering for the Cardinals and the Packers. Tommy loves feedback and can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @tommydiehl5
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.