APU Health & Fitness Original

There’s No Need to Go to a Gym to Stay Fit in the New Normal Era

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By Dr. Marie Gould Harper
Dean, Wallace E. Boston School of Business

When businesses in my area began to reopen, I was on the fence about my gym membership. I enjoyed going to work out with others who had the same goal as I did – to get and stay fit. However, I was concerned how the gym would respond to the coronavirus regulations and how other gym members would comply.

When I arrived at the gym, my initial reaction was to put my membership on hold. I was not ready to go use to the physical gym. Since my location offered online classes, I thought it was worthwhile to hold on to the membership and participate in online activities. However, I changed my mind as soon as I arrived at the front door.

As I walked up to the door, I saw that guests were working out, but there was no social distancing among the members on the machines. Also, one guest who was close to another did not have a mask on.

Switching to an Online Regimen to Remain Fit

Although the new rules were spelled out on the front door, the patrons were not abiding by them and the staff was not enforcing them. At that moment, I decided to cancel my membership and find on a new online regimen to stay fit.

What I’ve noticed was the same as I have seen with online learning. Some of the options were good; some were not. My search was divided into two areas: home equipment and online exercise classes. I wanted to find several options as I attempted to build a one-year plan. My goal was to find different options so I could continuously challenge my body over the 12-month period.

Many New Fitness Options Were Created As the Result of the 2020 Pandemic

I was amazed at the number of options created in 2020.  There was something for every need.

Also, I loved the variety of “vendors” in the market. I found commercial companies offering equipment that was conducive for a home gym in terms of space. There were several options for online workout classes from commercial companies offering unlimited streaming services. I also found some excellent programs/practices by individuals on TikTok.

My journey of finding options has been an interesting one as I have been introduced to new friends and ways of reinventing my workout regimen. Everything can be completed at home, and I did not have to fill my house with bulky equipment.

Also, there are many options for streaming actual exercise classes. The prices are reasonable, and I have been able to sign up for a couple of programs for variety. TikTok offers examples of routines that various individuals have found to be helpful to stay fit. The sense of community has been outstanding!

Striving to Eat Healthier

What is a workout routine without a nutrition plan? Eating healthy can be a challenge for me because of my schedule.

However, I have found that I do best when I eat at home and limit the number of take-out meals. One of my challenges was to identify restaurants serving healthy choices on the menu. They do exist! 

I also subscribed to two meal prep companies, Hello Fresh and Home Chef, to add variety and find new dishes. I love the option to skip weeks and the ability to receive recipes so I can remake my favorite dishes. Finally, I went back to an old faithful for accountability – Weight Watchers. I love the new plan, and it is ideal for my lifestyle.

Creating a Community to Stay Fit in the New Norm

The best part of exploring what works for me was conversing with family and friends who are on the same journey to stay fit. We created our sub-community as we shared our findings and determined what would work best for us. I like that each of us made a unique plan that we felt would work best for our individual needs and lifestyle.

The lesson that I have taken away from the process is that a group of people can come together as a community focused on one mission. However, the ideas are not rigid, and we all hope that we have created a new, balanced lifestyle that will work in the new norm.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper is the Dean of the School of Business at American Public University. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Wellesley College, a master’s degree in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate in business from Capella University. She is a progressive coach, facilitator, writer, strategist, and human resources/organizational development professional with more than 30 years of experience.

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