Solon: Making exercise accessible

Pio Solon

I was inspired to write this article after receiving a phone call a few weeks ago from my grandfather’s brother, Jesus Solon. Papalolo J, as we fondly call him, is turning 96 years old. At the beginning of the pandemic, he called me up to ask what form of exercise he could do at home as he was an ardent walker and was hoping to maintain his form even through the pandemic. As an exercise science practitioner, I advised him to try and walk for an hour even within his house and try to walk up and down the stairs as often as he can. I am pleased to say that Papalolo J has heeded this advice religiously doing everything prescribed daily. He says he can walk up and down the stairs 17 times in a day and finds this easy!

A lot of individuals shy away from exercise because they think it’s an inconvenience. They know the merits of exercise and that of eating healthy, too. But still, when you come to think about it, it takes time to prepare to go to the gym. One needs to prepare exercise clothes. It’s not a “comfortable” activity to engage in. After all, shouldn’t it be easier to just watch Netflix all day? It is totally understandable why some people feel that way! As human beings, our nature is to crave comfort and the path of least resistance in our daily lives.

How can we make exercise more accessible for those who are “inconvenienced” by it?

Find something to do in the comfort of your home

There are so many things one can do inside the house. A quick YouTube search of “home exercise videos with no equipment” should get one at least a hundred videos. Doing something is often better than doing nothing. Pacing at home, walking up and down the stairs are all good exercise one can do in the comfort of your own homes. A quick workout can include squats, push-ups, planks, lunges, jumping jacks and the like.

Stay within the path of least resistance

Exercise will never be accessible when you tell a couch potato to finish an Ironman. Sure, they could do it but it will take time. Will-power is well and good but it only gets you started, it takes routine and habits to sustain exercise.

Be reminded of the perils of the lack of physical activity

This is more of a motivator than anything else. A study in 50,000 Covid-19 patients showed that meeting physical activity guidelines was strongly associated with a reduced risk for Covid-19 in infected adults. This is something the fitness industry has been saying for quite some time. Even if you don’t want to go inside a gym for obvious reasons, there are still ways to get your physical activity done in your home or even outdoors. Physical inactivity is also linked with diabetes, hypertension and other lifestyle diseases all associated with an increased risk of severe Covid-19 symptoms.

What are you waiting for? Do not wait for things to be perfect before you start exercising. Start exercising now so you can work on things to become more perfect for yourself and your family.