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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SMU chapter.

I feel like everyone can identify with the shared struggled of keeping a regular workout schedule during the pandemic. Ever since lockdown began nearly a year ago, I feel like my fitness routine has been very tumultuous. I used to go to the gym regularly, but the experience just isn’t the same anymore. Even if the gym I go to cleans the machines regularly and everything is socially distanced, I still get paranoid by all the germs. We also have to reserve a spot at the gym now, and my laziness often prevents me from doing that. Plus, it’s just so hard to be motivated enough to walk across campus to my school’s gym or drive to it when I’m back home. In fact, that’s probably the number one factor that’s affected my fitness routine during the pandemic: motivation.

Just like anyone else reading this, I’m in class (which is mainly zooms) most of the day, and the rest of my weekday is occupied by schoolwork and meetings. I spend all day on my computer so that by the end of the day, my zoom fatigue is so real that even if I had time to go workout, I’d be too tired and probably just want to eat and hang out with my friends instead. Zoom fatigue has been proven to be a real thing – the lag between audio and video on constant online classes tires our brains out. My mind is giving 110% most of the day and by nighttime, I find it so hard to make myself get up, get dressed, and actually go run. 

Pretty much all that I do now when I exercise is run. I tried a few Chloe Ting ab workouts back when they were trending. That was the period when all of us were tired of being home, but still motivated – I made the whipped coffee, did Tik Tok dances with my family, and did indoor ab workouts. The problem with that, however, is that I have no core strength. My parents also bought a peloton when the pandemic started, and I did a lot of those for a short period of time – they’re a great cardio workout and are just insanely fun. I tried a few of their extra arm workouts, but I also have no arm strength. The bottom line is the only thing that really sticks with me is running. I’m by no means great at it and am very slow, but it’s a nice thirty-to-forty-five-minute respite from the work I usually have to do. I started running somewhat regularly during the summer, when all of my family was home at once (something that hasn’t happened for that long since I was in high school) and I just needed a break. Basically, my workout routine has been sporadic since the start of the pandemic, and I go to the gym way less than I used to. That being said, I now have a greater appreciation for how a quick run can be good for my mental health from time to time. 

If you’re like me and feel like your motivation level has been at zero for most of this past year, I’d suggest trying to do a quick thirty-minute workout on the weekends. Think about doing something that you’ll enjoy instead of forcing yourself to work out when you’re already tired. That could be a light jog, an easy ab workout, or even yoga. It’s just important for us to remember that we don’t need to be doing it all right now and need to focus more on what exercising can do for our mental, not physical health.  

Ruthie is a junior at SMU studying Psychology, Spanish, and Neuroscience. Born and raised in Texas, she loves to travel and enjoys reading, watching Netflix, and spending time with friends.
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