Right before quarantine, I was on a winning streak- making the varsity baseball team, winning 2nd in the state in my DECA category, while maintaining the best year of grades I had ever had. I was electric, to say the least, just in time for quarantine to send me home and not use any recently obtained energy.
Like everyone, quarantine ultimately killed my mood for a couple of weeks. Lack of motivation and constant boredom were common themes. Before COVID hit, I kept making routine visits to my local gym, and during my last visit before they closed, I talked with a friend about my weight. I have been overweight throughout my whole life, even coining the nickname “chubby rockstar” at one point in elementary school. I had already thinned out a little as I grew taller, but I was still overweight and considered obese, which was a huge roadblock for me in athletics and self-confidence. I asked my friend, who had recently lost a lot of weight, how he did it. He responded the worst possible way for me: he ran. He didn’t even run long distances too; just one mile runs before he worked out. Let me give you some context about why I hated running so much- I play baseball. The most you’ll run in baseball is 360 feet, and if you’re doing that, then most likely, it’s a light jog because you hit a home run. Once the gym closed, I had nowhere to workout except for a treadmill in my basement. After years of renouncing running and not listening to my mom as she said, “the weight will fall off you once you start running,” I finally gave in and ran. I started slow, running 2 minutes, walking 1 minute, all on my treadmill for 24 minutes.
Fast forward 6 months, and I’ve run every day since March 17th. Throughout quarantine, running was my daily outlet and was my only accomplishment somedays. I began by only running on the treadmill while watching TV, but once I ran outside for the first time, I fell in love with the wind in my face and the freedom my legs gave me. Running became less of a burden and more of a craving and treat over time, going from my least favorite form of exercise to an addiction. I credit all of my positive mental health to my running. I never was in a hole in the first place; instead, I just ran away from the possibility of quarantine getting to me. With the stress of school and college applications beginning to move into full effect, running has been my way to escape reality for 30 minutes every day and led to even more motivation to get my work done.
The main reason I’m telling my story is to give an example of how even a little exercise is amazing for the human mind and body and to encourage all readers to try the same. Running has led to me losing weight, being in the best shape of my life, and improving my baseball skills. Especially after sitting on your computer all day, I have found jurassic benefits to my mood when doing a small run or workout in between school and when you start your homework. I challenge YOU to do this: every day for the next week, take a walk with your parents, do a 15 minutes workout on youtube, or get off your butt and run away from reality for 20 minutes with your favorite music playing. Some days you will have less motivation, which is accurate for all aspects of life. Instead of taking the whole day off, dial your exercise back and do less, less intensity, duration, or both. After the week is over, take a day off and see how you feel. Maybe you don’t find any difference, which is OK, but I can almost guarantee that you will find your energy skyrockets and an extra ounce of pep in your step. What I want to emphasize is this is supposed to be therapeutic, and if you can’t run for long, or you have a difficult time with exercise in general, that’s completely OK! Baby steps are essential; you can’t just start by running 3 miles straight. I hope this inspires you to take a small step into finding the joy of exercise.Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at 703-597-9375 or email@example.com with any questions