Adapting to a new normal in a pandemic-triggered lockdown situation has become imperative for people to stay fit, both mentally and physically.
Along with it, developing strong immunity to offset the "invisible virus" has become equally important, in a way compelling people to switch to alternative forms of health routines during hours of home confinement every day.
Fitness freaks who were hitting the gyms regularly in the pre-pandemic situation too have been prompted to change their methods of staying fit during home confinement, after health and wellness centres/gyms, swimming pools and stadiums had to be closed last year.
Arnab Das, a regular at the gym till the COVID-triggered lockdown brought life to a standstill, did lose motivation till he switched to alternative methods of staying fit.
"I was lifting weights till March 2020. But the pandemic-triggered lockdown thereafter disrupted my routine physical activities. All of a sudden, habits like waking up early, consuming high-fibre low fat food, and continuing my studies, which were related to my gym-going activity, fell apart," the 25-year-old says.
"But after lazily spending a month post lockdown, I downloaded a "Lose Fat Workout" App. I had around 22 percent body fat before I started to plan my schedule, wake up early and work out at home without any equipment," he says.
Arnab followed a diet plan with caloric deficit to see if he could cut down body fat during lockdown.
"The total challenge was of 30 days, with three days of continuous workout and one day rest. I was able to reduce my body fat percentage to around 18-20 percent," he recalls.
"Working out at home, I felt energetic. Thereafter, I moved on to follow the fitness regimen of a similar app. I became very lean by mid-June 2020, with a body fat of around 12-14 percent. I was feeling lighter after the 60 day workout. Thereafter, it was conditioning other parts of my body (chest, back, biceps, triceps, legs and shoulder) in my room, by watching videos on YouTube and downloading apps," says Arnab who resumed his routine in a gym close to his apartment in January this year.
"The total challenge was of 30 days, with three days of continuous workout and one day rest. I was able to reduce my body fat percentage to around 18-20 percent," he recalls.Apparently, since the "Unlock" process started and gyms/fitness centres started opening up for limited hours, the consciousness of people, most of them who did not take health as a priority before, started turning up at the gyms.
"There is more consciousness now and the flow of people in gyms has increased during the non-curfew hours. Many have resorted to cycling during the morning to stay healthy and motivated," says Bhaskar Ranjan Nath, head trainer at Royal Fitness Gym at Hatigarh Chariali.
The number of morning walkers and joggers has increased as well.
"However, unlike cycling, which is a low-intensity cardio workout, lack of a proper warm-up/mobility exercise regimen before brisk walking/jogging has also caused knee and ankle joint pain among many. Hence, it is imperative that we stick to a proper exercise routine," Nath says.
The trend of online fitness classes, as an alternative to physical sessions, too has gained momentum.
Take for example, Smita Parashar, from Pathsala in Bajali district of lower Assam, who has been imparting free online yoga classes among people across the country during the lockdown.
"I take free yoga online classes for four hours through four online sessions almost every day, through platforms such as Zoom, Facebook and Youtube. I have also imparted sessions among COVID patients," she says.
Yoga has, in general, improved immunity, helped spread positive vibes and has been a solution to mental/physical stress.
"Yoga is especially beneficial during a pandemic when negativity, anxiety and uncertainty and even depression in a monotonous home-confined life can easily affect human beings disconnected with society and restricted by regulations," the 24-year-old who is currently pursuing her masters in Yogic Science and Naturopathy, says.