Physical Activity & Wellness in a Time of Stress & Unhealthy Habits

By Nykola Dovgyy

In a time where sedentary behaviours and irregular schedules seem to run our lives, it is important to stay physically and mentally well. In our “regular lives,” we often take for granted the role that regular routines play in keeping us happy and healthy.

The majority of people (especially students on campus) have some form of activity and social interaction in daily life. Whether it’s the walk with friends from class to class, or the run from the bus or your parking spot to make it to that early morning class across campus; in-person classes keep students active. The inadvertent physical activity we get in our daily lives has dropped off nearly completely for students who do not work on the frontlines or in essential businesses. As government protocols are always changing many students feel as though our ability to find normalcy is out of our own control.

While adhering to government regulations is of the utmost importance as we search for a new “normal”, we are not helpless in determining certain aspects of daily life. With the absence of our typical norms helping guide us through the pandemic, many unhealthy habits may find a way to sneak in and replace healthy productive habits from our regular lives. New habits like excessive sedentary periods, imbalanced sleep schedules, and poor dietary changes can have adverse effects on overall health. While it may seem overwhelming it is extremely important to resist the urge to stay in bed all day, eating chips, and binge-watching your third new TV show of the month. Your mind and body will thank you for getting out of this type of funk!

As the weather across our beautiful country continues to improve, it is essential that students make the shift towards being active and getting fresh air. A stroll through a nearby park or a bike ride around the neighbourhood can do wonders for reducing stress and feeling a sense of normalcy again. Aerobic exercise like walking, running, and biking is the best type of exercise to reduce stress which we all inevitably face amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic.

With the announcement of predominantly distance course offerings in the fall term across the country, it is imperative that students begin creating new regular routines and wellness plans. Summer is an excellent time to enjoy the outdoors (while social distancing of course) and begin creating new habits. The slow integration of more social opportunities outlined by municipal and provincial governments will allow students to begin reintroducing in-person interactions which are essential to well being and happiness.

Until deemed safe by medical professionals and government leaders, at home exercises and activities are the new normal. In addition to your cardio exercises like running and biking, eating as healthy as possible should be priority number two. A balanced meal with proper portion control will help your body get the nutrients it needs and in turn, make you feel great! Once these two things have been taken care of, expanding your horizons to at-home strength and conditioning programs is the next step. Start with a wide array of simple exercises to see which exercises you enjoy. Exercises like push-ups, jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, step-ups, among many others are extremely simple and provide a great way to burn calories and feel healthy and productive in quarantine!

What our world needs most right now is love and kindness towards one another. Call a friend, facetime your family, utilize the incredible technology we have today that is keeping us all united in such an unprecedented time. Show support for your fellow classmates and try to reach out to people who may need some help in this tough time.

Also, participate in a Bingo card or an at-home workout challenge. Check out those below courtesy of the USask Rec / University of Saskatchewan Recreation team!