When California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order in mid-March to help slow the spread of COVID-19, also known as the new coronavirus, he also ordered “nonessential” businesses to close, which included dine-in restaurants (which can still operate through curbside pickup and delivery services), bars, clubs and gyms.

When fitness studios started closing their doors, a meme about “gaining the COVID-19” went viral. The meme refers to the weight people will gain while in quarantine with no gym access, a variation of the “freshman 15” that refers to the amount of weight freshmen typically gain during their first year of college.

But weight gain while in quarantine (or weight gain in general) is no laughing matter and is avoidable by staying active, whether indoors or out.

Staying Active at Home

Fitness expert and Bakersfield Life Magazine columnist Alex Garzaro said it best: “Health is not canceled!” There are myriad options available for getting a workout in at home, from live virtual workouts that maintain a group setting to online programs and YouTube videos. Garzaro, in fact, launched a seven-day bodyweight program that can be done at home with no equipment necessary. The 30-minute workouts can be found on www.bakersfieldlife.com.

Yoga and cycling studios are also taking classes online. Y6 GO is an online subscription offered by Yoga Six that offers a variety of classes that replicate the studio experience and Rush Cycle offers bike rentals so users can participate in spin classes at home. Though the bikes sold out fast, a waitlist is available in the event of cancellations. Inquiries can be made by emailing bakersfield@rushcycle.com.

Many YouTube fitness channels have also altered their programming to reflect the current situation, featuring at-home workouts that can be done with or without weights (for free), and online programs like Daily Burn are offering a free 60-day trial.

Believe it or not, video games can also be a viable option for maintaining fitness. Games like “Ring Fit Adventure,” “Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games” and “Sports Party” for Nintendo Switch; “Beat Saber,” “BoxVR” and “Sprint Vector” for PlayStation 4; and “Zumba Fitness World Party,” “Shape Up” and “Kinect Sports Rivals” for Xbox One are fun ways to stay active that can get the whole family involved. “Just Dance” is another popular option that’s available on multiple gaming platforms. The best part is many of these games can be downloaded, which means no need to go outside!

Outdoor Recreation

As of early April, outdoor recreation such as walking, jogging, hiking and cycling are still acceptable so long as social-distancing practices are implemented. Cyclists should consider solo riding to avoid riding in groups. If a group ride does take place, maintain a safe distance from other riders. In other words, no drafting!

Many parks are still open for use, but it is strongly advised that children stay clear the playground (many have officially been closed off) and everyone should minimize contact with different surfaces, such as tables and benches. Bring plenty of water as well, as drinking fountains should also be avoided. Take to the trails in the hills of Hart Park and get a bird’s-eye view of your surroundings as well as a heart-pumping hike.

The Kern River Parkway is still accessible, though it’s worth repeating that social-distancing practices should be followed as a courtesy to other users. While public basketball, tennis and pickleball courts have been closed, many golf courses are still open. Call or go online for more details.

These options provide plenty of variety, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with keeping it simple with a walk or run around one’s neighborhood. You’ll never know what you’ll find, like inspirational chalk drawings on the sidewalk.

Staying at home doesn’t mean staying inactive. Events may currently be canceled, but health is not. 

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