In the middle of a global pandemic, prioritizing your health and wellness is one of the smartest moves you can make. That’s true for everyone, but for Black Americans, it’s critical as this group faces a disproportionate rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Yusuf Myers, the founder, creator, and owner of PRX Workouts, emphasized the importance of self-care, like fitness, at a critical time like this. After all, some research suggests exercise may help reduce the risk of a severe respiratory complication called acute respiratory distress syndrome.
“I do not believe the problem is a lack of understanding of the importance of exercise, [because] Black people are very physical in their everyday lives and work,” he said. “However, there is a lack of viable, affordable resources and options for the Black community.”
Staying fit at home
Fortunately, you don’t need professional workout equipment to give your immune system a lift. Myers recommends starting small with simple exercises like burpees, jumping jacks, high knees, and standing up and sitting down on the couch or a chair.
“All these movements you can do from anywhere,” he said. “You do not need to be in a gym to practice them.”
He added that the goal is to get your heart rate up. “Other great examples include HITT training, walking outside with a mask on, taking the stairs, changing your rituals, and adding movement to your rituals.”
If you’re looking for a specific routine to get started, Myers recommended the following:
“Try doing 30 seconds of jumping jacks, then 30 seconds of an active rest, and then 30 seconds of jumping jacks again,” Myers said. “As you start to build your cardiovascular endurance and increase blood flow, you can continue to increase the time to 45 seconds, then to a minute.”
Nutrition-wise, he suggested cutting back on saturated fats and watching your caloric intake.
Finally, he recommended building — and then leaning on — your support system, whoever that may be.
“I have created a platform and community filled with unity, trust, integrity, and a positive outlet to learn and grow for oneself and for others,” Myers said. “Not only during a trying time like COVID-19, but always.”
To stay motivated, Myers said you should seek out a virtual workout buddy or join an online program you think you’d enjoy. If you’re new to working out, trust the process.
“My job as a fitness leader in my community and virtually, touching people around the country and the world on social media, is to get people to realize nothing is impossible with hard work and consistency,” Myers said.