How I Stay Pandemic Fit: Lessons from a Lifelong Coach

In my last blog post, I shared some of the positive outcomes I’m seeing as COVID-19 continues to reshape our world and alter our way of life. In this new normal I often get asked, “How do I stay fit and well during the pandemic?”

 

In 2020, I’ll take every win I can get!  My great friend, Justice Ginsburg, passed away and, while I try to stay positive, 2020 seems to get worse and worse. Though I’ve been a pro athlete and coach my adult entire life, Justice Ginsburg was a fitness and self-care inspiration of mine. I’m a believer, like she was, that mental and emotional health are closely linked to physical activity — moving, breathing fresh air, and being outside. 

 

You have to feel your best so the ones around you will feed off of your positive energy and attitude. So, sports fans, below are some tips on how I keep my wellness steady during the pandemic.

When you have a choice always try to use the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator.

Wake up early (and I mean early, like 5:30 or 6:00 am) and work out.

Have you ever regretted working out? Of course not! It is instant gratification and gives you a feeling of accomplishment and pride. To get yourself out of bed, visualize how great you will feel 10 minutes into working out. Happy, proud, smiling, breathing, and sweating. This will get you out of bed! Have your work out clothes all laid out to make it easy. This early rising has been a saving good habit of mine through life’s challenges. By 7 am I feel like a master of the universe, so amped with the releases of the good natural chemicals. Endorphins are powerful!

 

Sweat. Outside. 

I was doing Zoom and online workouts, but they just weren’t the same and I was lazy. So, I got off my Zoom-ass and started walking outside, then hiking, and timing myself to get my heart-rate up. Whether running a marathon or walking around the neighborhood, you feel good, better than you did before you started, and accomplished.

 

Re-establish a connection with Mother Nature

Being outside is at the heart of why I love coaching tennis. I am always outside! During COVID, I have had to become more intentional about getting outside. The Norwegians call it friluftsliv, a lifestyle of open-air living and spending time outdoors (and hey! they always rank at the top of the World Happiness Report. They must be onto something!). I push myself to pay attention to the flowers, trees, clouds, dirt, birds, smells, and sunlight on my walks to develop a closer connection to Mother Nature. EVERYTHING is better outside, even in miserable weather. Just bundle up!

I have also started to pay more attention to the practice of grounding (connecting to the ground to electrically reconnect with the earth) and now put my bare feet on the earth, especially in the sand at the beach or grass wherever, whenever I can. 

 

Dance, laugh and be silly when listening to music. 

We started to turn on oldies after dinner and dance, moving and laughing, being silly and healthy. My septuagenarian husband, 93-yr old mom, and me! Listening to music you love, moving, and singing is so happy and healthy. I often wish the U.S. and my midwest culture had more of this. Get rid of feeling embarrassed to sing, just let it out! It feels exhilarating! Dancing and jumping around is an effective way to release your worries and burn calories

 

Click to view video

Drink water, water, water. (Is it even possible to drink too much water?)

 

When I am totally hydrated — at a minimum I drink 64oz a day — I have more energy and just feel lighter, faster, and more alert. The first thing I do every morning is down 16oz of water right when I get out of bed. When I do this, I know I am starting off the day setting myself up for wellness, energy, and feeling positive. Former Navy Seal, Admiral William McRaven, says, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed…It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.” I add, drink a glass of water, too!  

 

Change is hard, but it’s all about baby-steps and consistency. Justice Ginsburg prioritized fitness and wellness and this gave her the strength to fight five cancers until finally, she could not. We have to coach ourselves into good habits and celebrate those small wins to stay mentally and physically steady. 

 

 

I am convinced that the outdoors, the open skies, nature, pushing oneself to move a little faster and a little quicker, breathing fresh air, and hearing nature’s sounds bring on better outcomes universally for health and wellness.

 

What are you doing to stay mentally and emotionally steady? What habits have worked for you? Connect with Coach Kemper on Twitter (@CoachKemper) to share your thoughts and join the conversation.

About the author

Coach Kathy Kemper, known as “Coach” to many, is Founder and CEO of the Institute for Education, a non-profit foundation that recognizes and promotes leadership, civility, and finding common ground, locally, nationally, and in the world community.

Share this post