COVID no reason not to stay healthy and active

A view from the author’s yoga mat, on a picnic table, at Chain O’ Lake State Park.

Back in January, when the new year started, I was bound and determined to change some of my bad habits.

I hadn’t gone for a run in several months, my heart rate and stress had slowly crept up and the pounds along with them. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly played a role since my work put me on the frontline of interactions with customers. Many Saturday nights, after a shift at the Goshen Farmers’ Market, I would imagine that my sniffle or chill or headache or sneeze was the precursor to a serious bout of the novel virus.

I guess that those risks also altered my health. Food has always been a joy for me and even more so during this past year. So when January 2021 rolled around, I was ready to focus on change and more particularly on bringing my heart rate down.

In the past, I had enjoyed doing yoga at home for increased flexibility and self care. So I found my old standby online, Yoga with Adrienne, and decided to follow her 30 day challenge. Along with my daily practice of yoga, I went back to a more observant way of eating and a more active lifestyle. I was hoping that by summer, I would be able to run a 5k race in a decent time, something I’ve done regularly since my 20s.

Ten years ago, Jim and I had done this exact thing so I knew the routine. I just had to fall back into it. I began slowly with the running, aware that injuries can happen if you start too fast. But after several weeks of running a couple of times a week and adding my daily yoga, I discovered that my heart rate had fallen.

I also became more aware of how to reduce my stress and diligently worked at pacing myself.

If you know me at all, you know that I tend to add projects to my day as ideas come up and I’m always looking ahead creatively. So, yes, I have learned to let go of some items on my constant lists and focus on those I’m working on right now. Mostly, though, I continue my daily walks at the park, do my daily yoga challenge and eat joyfully.

As the months have unfolded, my yoga session has become my mainstay. Usually a half an hour long, I can easily fit it into my day.

And Yoga with Adrienne allows me to work as hard or as easily as I want. I also discovered that my daughter was doing the exact same thing so now we trade stories about accomplishments. Sometimes just checking in with her helps me along.

So here I am on Day 115, pounds lighter, heart rate down, no more heartburn, more flexible, less stressed, just in time for spring. My goal is to continue doing daily yoga through the end of the year. Even if I have to do it on a picnic table when we are out camping!

I hope you are all staying healthy as well. And now that spring weather has returned, there’s more reason than ever to spend time outside and be active!

La Bonne Vie’s Rachel Shenk has been an artisan baker for 30 years. Born and raised in Belgium, she has lived in Goshen since 1973. She has been writing about food, traveling and the good life for about 10 years. You can connect with her on her Facebook page, La Bonne Vie, or at her cheese shop in Goshen, The Wedge.

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