How to Improve Your Endurance During COVID-19 with Dean Karnazes

The impact of COVID-19 is far ranging and has disrupted our normal everyday activities. For many of us, exercise is an important part of our physical and mental health, and yet most gyms across the country remain closed at a time when people need this outlet for fitness and community most.

However, there are ways to adapt your routine to these changing times, beginning with shifting your paradigm to make fitness and health an integral part of your daily patterns. Instead of compartmentalizing exercise as something that is done for one hour a day in the gym, incorporate exercise into everything you do. You can try standing during your Zoom meetings, doing sets of push ups, sit ups, chair dips, or burpees in between calls, or setting a timer to drink a cup of water every hour or two. Simple things like this throughout the day can help keep you engaged and contribute quantitatively toward sustaining and building your overall fitness and health.

If you are in a place where you can get out and go on a walk or run, that’s an activity health experts recommend and should be done safely and within your local guidelines. If you’re just getting started, I suggest focusing on jogging or running for a set duration of time rather than going for a set distance. 

Start out by seeing if you can run continuously for three minutes—this can help you regulate your pace and not start out too quickly. From three minutes, increase the time to five minutes and use your Fitbit to keep track of the duration and distance. Once you’re able to sustain a run of fifteen minutes, you can shift to tracking distance and challenge yourself to work up to three continuous miles of running.

As an ultramarathoner, I’m used to races that seem to drag on forever and, like COVID-19, it has become a challenge with a distant and uncertain finish line. So, maintaining your physical health will help you stay the course and I, for one, am cheering you on. Remember, even though we’re distanced, we’re all in this together.

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