It is no secret that the global Coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on us, mentally and physically. From irregular sleep schedules to eye strains, quarantining during the pandemic has not been the best for our health.
Many students have lost their touch with fitness and found staying in shape difficult. Being trapped indoors has made it easier for unhealthy practices such as lack of exercise to become part of our lives. In fact, since March 2020, a record 27.5% of Bronx Science respondents reported gaining weight to me during the Coronavirus pandemic over the last seventeen months, while 33.4% of those nationwide who are obese gained weight according to a US News and World report.
During quarantine and COVID-19 restrictions over the past seventeen months, Sajjad Khan ‘21 had developed a very sedentary lifestyle, taxing both his mental and physical wellbeing. As temperatures rose and flowers blossomed, Sajjad had found himself in awe of the outdoors and of nature. “I recently developed the habit of taking walks daily,” he explained. For Sajjad, the beauty of his neighborhood park is well appreciated and provides him a place to think. “I spend time talking to my friends on the phone while I walk, or I just listen to music and reconnecting with nature. Taking these walks have definitely helped my mental and physical wellbeing by giving me a chance to reflect, to reflect on my past year and a half during the pandemic, and to think about future obstacles, all in a relaxing environment.”
Some students have even taken it a step further with fitness. As of June 14th, 2021, with 70% of New York adults having received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose according to the CDC, gyms and fitness centers are slowly opening back up, allowing full capacity.
Aspiring gym goer Shams Rupak ’21 detailed his day from start to finish. “It all starts with a protein shake,” he explained as he mixed two scoops of Chocolate Whey Isolate into his signature Dragon Ball Z themed protein shaker. Shams then dove into his routine and how he goes to the gym for two separate sessions during the morning and the evening. He focuses on different muscle groups during each workout and adheres to a three day workout split followed by a day of rest.
“Many people think that getting stronger is all about working out, but rest and diet is also a major part of it,” Rupak said. “Most of your muscle develops when you’re resting, so make sure to not overwork yourself and get plenty of sleep. You need to have a good diet too; make sure you’re getting plenty of protein for how much you’re working out, and make sure that you are eating balanced meals.”
Shams explained how quarantine made his life less focused on physical fitness, a few months ago. “It was just so easy,” he explained. “I had access to frozen pizza, chocolate-chip ice-cream, and unhealthy potato chips, all the time. It was no wonder that I put on pounds of weight!” With more free time than ever, Rupak decided to crack down on his unhealthy practices and instead to improve his physical fitness during the pandemic. Two months later, Rupak has lost many pounds; currently, he feels his strongest and fittest to date.
Rupak hopes that his progress in physical fitness will help to inspire others to start working out. Among health benefits, he suggests that working out will provide students a sense of organization and dedication to focus on other goals. It is all about finding a balance between our online lives and enjoying in-person activities such as taking a walk in nature or dedicating time to a hobby such as improving one’s physical fitness.
It is all about finding a balance between our online lives and enjoying in-person activities such as taking a walk in nature or dedicating time to a hobby such as improving one’s physical fitness.