If there had to be just one silver lining to the pandemic that has swept through most of the world, most people stuck at home would point to an increased awareness of their personal health.
Eager to stay fit during these difficult times, millions of people have decided to exercise from the comfort of their own homes.
Sports physician Andi Kurniawan said the COVID-19 outbreak had raised people’s awareness of health, as more and more people understand the importance of strengthening their immune system.
“People are more aware that it is so important to maintain our immune system so we can’t be easily infected,” he said.
For people like Ratna Puspitasari and Marco Puli Sandy, who have been using their spare time sheltering at home for the past two months to get into the habit of exercise, the quarantine has triggered a significant change in their pursuit of health.
“Before the quarantine started, I always felt tired of making time to exercise during the weekday. So I just spend 15 to 20 minutes on the weekend to exercise,” said 26-year-old Ratna, who works for a start-up in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.
“And now as I work from home, I can exercise every day.”
Inspiration doesn’t even have to begin with the individual.
After poring through Youtube, Ratna said she found a variety of workout channels that helped her set up a personal exercise regimen to do from the comfort of her rooming house.
She even designed a detailed workout program for every day of the week, combining simple and short workouts during the weekdays with longer and more intense workouts on the weekends – all geared to help her stay fit throughout quarantine.
“On the weekdays, I do exercises that aren’t too time-consuming, like a 15-minute full body stretch or morning yoga. Whereas on the weekends, I do a combination of practices from yoga to HIIT,” she said, referring to High Intensity Interval Training.
“The motivation comes from within. In the beginning, it was more like I forced myself to exercise because I wasn’t feeling healthy,” she said.
“Additionally, I started a clean eating program at the end of last year, so I needed to accompany it with exercise.”
While Ratna takes pleasure in exercising in her own room, Marco said he likes to jog around his housing complex and play some basketball with his brother once in a while to add some variety into his exercise routine.
On the weekdays, the private company employee said he liked to do a 7-minute cardio workout which he combines with strength exercises such as push-ups and pull-ups.
“I almost have no social life nowadays because I cannot go anywhere [due to the pandemic]. It’s quite stressful actually. Before the pandemic, I used to go to the cinema or hang out with my friends to destress,” he said.
“[Since I can’t do any of those things], I feel like exercising helps me to manage [that stress]. Now I’m used to exercising almost every day.”
With millions of people worldwide going into quarantine for months, sheltering in place from COVID-19 has resulted in its own health crisis, as people are forced to stave off social engagement.
The uncertainty still lingers for both Marco and Ratna, who admitted that they had been left with nothing to do about creeping anxiety other than to keep a positive mental attitude.
“Now, if I feel stressed out I am willing to admit that I’m not in a good condition. But then I am able to focus on resolving [the issues] one at a time,” Marco said.
“We do whatever it takes to stay sane.”
Both Marco and Ratna have also promised themselves that they would maintain their exercise habits even when the pandemic ends.
“I need and must maintain this habit. I used to wake up at 7 a.m. and immediately prepare for work, but now with regular exercise, I can adjust my sleeping time and wake up earlier,” Ratna said.
“Without realizing it, exercise has become a habit, even if I just do it for 5 to 15 minutes during weekdays.”
As for the current large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in place, they have limited the number of options to exercise at gyms and other sporting facilities are closed.
But Andi suggested that people should not be tempted to just lie in bed or sit in isolation for long hours.
“The thing with isolation is people are more likely to lie in bed. But we have to stay active. For instance, every one hour when we sit, we need to stretch for five minutes.
“A little stretching or moving our body while in isolation is enough as calories continue to burn. Cleaning the house or following a Youtube tutorial on exercise are also good for beginners,” he said.
If you want to help in the fight against COVID-19, we have compiled an up-to-date list of community initiatives designed to aid medical workers and low-income people in this article. Link: [UPDATED] Anti-COVID-19 initiatives: Helping Indonesia fight the outbreak