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Be Like Water: Pandemic & Exercise

Pandemic and physical activity — two words that may seem strictly in discord and worlds apart. It is true that in the era of Covid-19 we may get less exercise and remain homebound for the majority of the time, but that must not mean we should give up on our daily workout altogether.

Speaking from experience, as a Junior National Team member of Karate Canada, I had to adjust to the new norm and accept the fact that the new reality is that I would have to continue exercising at home via online training, alas not for any competition any time soon, but rather for myself.

March 11, 2020, a day which will certainly be marked down in history books as when the novel Coronavirus outbreak was officially declared as a Pandemic. It wreaked havoc wherever it entered and forced entire cities and even countries to go into a full on freeze mode and even lockdowns. Athletes were forced to stay away from gyms and competitions were cancelled. To make matters worse, the Olympics and lifelong dreams were put on hold for another year.

Quarantine has become a word synonymous with Covid-19, one which all of us are too familiar with. Perhaps what comes to mind most are the seemingly endless days of confinements within our own homes, social isolation, swerving from the norm in our daily activities and spending hours glued to the TV screen. In all its surrealness, perhaps there is a silver lining, one which although may not be strictly loud but evident in the long run. We NEED motion. We, as humans, are not designed to remain stagnant. We require an outlet for our energy to feel happy, to thrive, to keep healthy and to stay in shape.

As cliche as it sounds, everything is made up of energy and energy in its essence is always in motion. When you limit physical activity and attempt to confine yourself within a space, without an outlet to discharge the buildup of emotions, you inevitably start feeling unnerved, lethargic, fatigued or simply unhappy. Is that not the case? In the physical sense, you begin seeing the effects of no exercise in muscle weakness and deterioration, gradual contortion of your body, weakening of your heart and lungs, and impairment of your brain function. That results in a foggy sort of mindstate, which you may have already experienced. And all of that is bad, it’s a disservice to your body and mind — in fact it's far from ideal.

What’s the solution you may ask? Or you may be thinking, we’ve entered 2021, we’re well into January now and it’s too late to make a new year’s resolution. I tell you this: when water sits in a still pond for too long, it starts to smell and taste bad, it’s no longer fresh. But when it flows through a stream, it rids itself of all impurities and becomes fresh once again. Roughly 60% of your body is made up of water. Are you going to be a stream or a pond? You ARE the vessel. You hold energy and matter within you. Do you choose to let your circumstances dictate over your physical and mental wellbeing or find ways to move your body and rid yourself of all the buildup tensions? And in effect to burn off some calories as a bonus? Rid yourself of the victim mentality, because the reality is that bad breaks and hurdles will always come your way, you must learn to overcome them, even if your steps may seem futile in the beginning. As Bruce Lee would say, “be like water my friend.”

What is important to understand, no matter what physical limitations you may have, there are various ways to stay active and react to various stimuli. It may be through reading a book, drawing, writing, innovating with creative new ideas, brainstorming, planning etc. Never let any situation dim your light and put a cap on your energy. Perhaps you can learn a new craft. Cooking, singing, dancing… There are many ways to stay active. You can move your body in any means possible or engage your mind with a new topic. The most important thing is, never allow this pandemic become more gruelling than it already is. When we come out of these dark days, like a polished diamond we can step into the other side as stronger, more confident, more learned, and more experienced individuals. Until then, get up and get active!

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” - Bruce Lee

-- Mahta Gharaei

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