Most reading this will be stricken with its superficiality and are likely to file it under “first-world problems“ should they read it all the way through. I’m asking everyone to read this please, and do so with an open mind. Even if this doesn’t apply to you, it’s impacting somebody close to you — a family member, coworker, or neighbor.
Millions of people woke up today unable to go to the gym and exercise. On the surface that seems the epitome of first-world problems. In truth, missing a workout or even a few is not a big deal. However, we’re not talking about people missing one or two workouts. We’re talking about fitness centers and gyms around the country closed down indefinitely, for weeks and probably for months.
Why is this significant…?
Because for many, it’s not about having tight buns, bulging biceps, six-pack abs, or doing sinister justice to that little black dress. For millions of people, exercise is medicine, and for some it’s their only medicine. For many, it works far better than the pills that doctors prescribe them.
Exercise helps cope with the stresses of everyday life
Exercise helps in confronting depression, head-on
Exercise is a great way to deal with anxiety
Exercise is an alternative to drugs and alcohol — helping millions of people each day stay ahead of addiction
Exercise is used by many to thwart thoughts of self-harm and suicide
Exercise offers confidence to many who would not know it any other way
For many, and I fall into this category, exercise is about all of the above and more.
This is worth repeating — you probably know more than a few people who exercise for some or all of the reasons mentioned above. Their ability to do so, as they are accustomed to doing it, has been taken from them with no notice. For people who use exercise to combat depression and other maladies, this is tantamount to the pharmacy turning the off the lights and locking the doors — right as the person in need is driving up.
Many people who’ve lost access to the gym may have also lost their jobs with no notice. They may be in financial difficulties due to our current situation. They may feel weight of the world pushing them down harder than ever, during a time when they need the relief and the benefits of exercise more than ever. Their medicine has been taken from them.
For the people in your life who’ve lost that wonderful coping mechanism, the gym, they will need to be resourceful. Please encourage them and be patient with them. Be supportive if they complain about missing their workouts, don’t reply by calling it a “first-world problem“. Don’t complain if they do push-ups every 15 minutes, or run around the block 35 times a day. They may be medicating the best way they can, at a time when they may need that medicine more than ever.
Starting or tomorrow I’ll be doing a YouTube video of one exercise per day that can be done with minimal equipment which some people might have at home, or with no equipment whatsoever.