Is Covid a Reason, or an Excuse Not to Run?

Maybe it’s a bit of both. Maybe it’s a reason sometimes, and an excuse at other times.  Before we go there, maybe my assumption should be challenged. Anecdotally, some of my friends seem to have run about the same, and some like me, seem to struggle. Also the question as posed, is binary, and incomplete. Did people run less during lockdowns?  Did they resume when things opened up a bit?

In Nova Scotia, even during the first and strictest lockdown, we were allowed to run and walk. Just by yourself,  stay away from people, and don’t dilly dally!  I did attempt some walking before signing in and starting another day of working from home.  During these early pandemic walks I saw few walkers, and almost no runners, but would I have at any other time? Good question. When my office was open I often walked the 3k to work. The only other people I would see would be other people walking presumably to work or other responsibilities.

Regardless of my less than scientific observations, social media tells many stories of us getting larger and lazier. There are memes, self deprecating humour, and at least a little desperation and sadness.  

So, did we, or didn’t we, exercise less during the pandemic?  For a more scientific answer, here’s some bona fide scientific research.  When I peruse research like this, I look for an OMIGOSH finding. Something surprising, something I didn’t see coming.  Here is that finding. 

“While the majority of all respondents indicated exercising as much or more during the lockdown, nearly half of them also reported sitting more. This result is not without risk, as a positive balance between both behaviors is required from a health perspective [19]. Regardless of the extent of physical activity, too much sedentary behavior is unhealthy, and can lead to not only physical but also mental health issues.”

What a disastrous outcome! Stop exercising, and become sedentary. I was not completely unaware of this, but it did strike home. I realized not only was I running less, but not at all. Who was I kidding? I was  becoming sedentary.  Pre-covid I insisted on micro walks during the day at the office. That was easy. There were people to drag along to talk with. There were stores for window shopping. There were step counting bragging rights. Often I took the three kilometre walk to and from work. Working from home changed that. Especially early, during the restrictive lockdown. There was the occasional morning walk, and not much else.  Even prior to this running had become sporadic. 

To answer the the question, is Covid an excuse or reason?  My answer is, it doesn’t matter. Nope, not one bit.  Especially with the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines are here, the rate in Nova Scotia is bottoming out. Restrictions are relaxing. So whether  it was an excuse or reason, it’s neither anymore. 

The more important question now is, “whatcha going to do about it?”.

I’m on a bit of a walking streak. I’m hitting 10,000 steps about 80% of the time. On the 17th of March I went for my first run since November, 24th, 2020. Coincidentally it was again, 3.2km.  I’m encouraged. My legs were a little sore. My heart rate was just short of 100% maximum.  However, no injury, and I gained a feeling of accomplishment. I’m taking a few days of rest. I’m playing this by ear. Yesterday consisted of walking up and down staircases in my building. My legs were burning. Despite this, they were feeling strong from the recent walking. 

This blog started back in 2013. I had broken a promise to my boys. I’m not going to break it again. More to follow. 


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