Exercise for Immunity, and Mental Health

One of the best things that has come out of my quarantine experience is the working out in the cold air. I have always enjoyed winter sports like cross country skiing, downhill skiing, skating, and snowshoeing. It feels really good to be outside on a cold day, even when the sky is grey, and to move around. As you move around you build heat in your body and feel warmer.

During the lockdown, while still living in Toronto, I actually started to work out more than I had been doing before. I did it because I was motivated by scientific research that shows that physical activity can be very good for the immune system. I was also motivated to work out because of the scientific research that shows that it is very good for mood. These were things I wanted to do for myself; to protect my health and to not get overly negative about the changes that have come about because of the lockdown.

While getting into working out I noticed a couple of things.

I noticed that no matter how much I worked out, I still struggled to convince myself to work out. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed working out, I often would try to talk myself out of it. Like for example, its raining or cold outside, so I can’t run. So my strategy was to work out minimum 5 times a week, for 30 minutes. This seemed like a sustainable habit. I knew that I would always try to talk myself out of it. I had to push through that.

I started to work out by going out for a run. But if it was cold or raining, I had an excuse not to work out. So I decided I needed to find some other way to work out. I found there are many workout videos on YouTube. I have really enjoyed the ones that are released by pop sugar. I was doing many different workouts, some cardio boxing, dancing, Pilates, and barre. But I noticed that my feet started hurting. It was plantar fasciitis.

I researched plantar fasciitis. It made a lot of sense that this would be the culprit. In my research it spoke about jumping and running. And these were two things I was really enjoying in my work outs. Around the time that I discovered my plantar fasciitis I became very busy, and stopped working out every day.

Instead my husband and I became focussed on fixing up our house to make it ready to sell. And my feet definitely started to feel better. I did miss working out, because of the benefits I had mentioned earlier in the blog – immune system and mood.

Since moving into the backyard of our family, and living in our tiny house, having no option to leave the property, getting back into working out was something I wanted to do again. My exercise has been mindful of my feet. I am not jumping, or running. I am marching or kicking. Or working on abdominal and core strength.

I plan to continue to do my workouts in the cold weather, as long as it is practical, even after the quarantine has been completed. Getting out into the fresh air every morning feels so good.