Staying Fit In A New Environment During Covid-19

I just joined my new work environment for a couple of months. The transition is not only in work scope, but also in routine. Where previously I have ample opportunities to walk about and keep active, I have less chances now.

The COVID-19 measures introduced by the government has forced many events to be scaled down, or cancelled. Whether they are sporting events, performances or public celebrations, all these events across the months have been affected. And now we have a series of circuit beaker measures until 4 May.

The 30 km race I signed up for has already been postponed. A marathon I wish to join has been cancelled. No more marathons in the horizon, for the next few months. Maybe even till the end of the year.

Without any races to work towards, my fitness regime has taken a bit. I feel a bit more lethargic than before, and sometimes I don’t feel like going for a long run. The net result is a gradual increase in weight gain.

When external conditions are not in your favour, when work is piling up and you don’t have much time and space for running, what can you do? I cannot afford to let the waistline expand, and allow my past efforts to go in vain. So these are what I did for now:

1. Rearrange time for running. My running is now confined to weekends. If fortunate, I will have about two hours to run. Considering that I can still hit minimum 10 km in each run, and still improve my pacing, that is good enough! Rearranging time means I have to look at tightening how I use my time for other areas though.

2. Maintain my running momentum when there are no races to target. When I have a race as a goal, I will put in effort to run longer distances and duration. Now that I don’t have a race in sight, what I do is to target a certain distance and maintain my overall pace. That helps me maintain my running momentum every week. But it doesn’t help with my fitness though.

3. Find ways to keep fit throughout the week. Since I work in an office now, staying active is a more challenging than before. If I have meetings the whole day the number of steps will drop even further. So what can I do to stay active? I make use of lunch time to walk about. Sometimes I would walk with colleagues to a lunch venue, sometimes I will walk around the office area. At times I will walk in-between meetings to get to the next meeting venue.

With telecommuting the mainstay for now, work from home poses even more challenges. If I am not involved in virtual meetings, I will be working off my laptop over papers, presentations and emails. It means a lot of sedentary moments throughout the day. If not careful, my work hours can stretch easily till late evenings. Hence I make it a point to move around during the day – whether to help in buying groceries, getting meals, or simply just walking around the neighbourhood at night, this is how I keep my momentum going.

4. The last thing I do is to adjust my diet too. As I mentioned in an earlier post, eating more carbs at the start of the day helps me a lot. I have also added in oats and dried fruits as a lunch option in some weeks. This keeps my body alert during office hours without any sugar boost. It will be some time before I can get adjusted to an office routine. But now with the circuit breaker measures, I have taken to eating more home cooked food, and consequently that helps to manage my weight a lot better. (Not having easy access to snacks helps too, I figure!)

I guess the key is to cultivate discipline so that I do not regress. Hopefully COVID-19 will taper off in the next few months, so that we can regain normalcy.

How has a change in work environment affect your fitness regime? Do you have any tips or advice to maintain your fitness? What disruptions has covid-19 brought to your life, and what have you done to manage them?

3 thoughts on “Staying Fit In A New Environment During Covid-19

  1. Without any races, staying motivated to run has been difficult. I try to keep my running gear in a pile, in sight. If everything is ready to go, there is one less excuse.
    While working from home I feel I need to always be ready to pick up the phone and answer emails promptly. If I go for a run at lunch, that will be just the time the boss calls about something urgent!
    I’ve also been trying to stand more during conference calls and webex meetings. This also allows me to get in some stretching during these calls/meetings.


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