How to stay active during a pandemic

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By Donald Higney

For many students, staying active is an important part of leading a balanced life.

But going to the gym may be harder for Ryerson students with the limited reopening of the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).

The MAC reopened on Aug. 10 after closing in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It now operates on a reservation basis, with students booking open 90-minute time slots to workout. Upon arriving, they go through symptom screening and have to abide by physical distancing guidelines.  

For Eduard Tatomir, a fitness centre and facilities supervisor at both the MAC and the Ryerson Athletic Centre (RAC), his fitness routine immediately changed with the closures. 

“Going to the gym is more about the journey rather than the destination,” said Tatomir. “Sure, looking and feeling better is the ultimate goal but I’ve learned to love the routine, the people and the time I spend there more than the result.” 

“You won’t do what you don’t love, no matter the potential reward, and working out from home just wasn’t something I loved.” 

Tatomir bought resistance bands and started to run and bike again, but it wasn’t the same as the gym. His advice to incoming students is straightforward: start slow and simple, and build from there. He recommends going once or twice a week and continuing that way until finding a routine that works for you.

“You won’t do what you don’t love, no matter the potential reward”

Michelle Parlevliet, a specialist in recreation facilities and equipment and former Rams track and field athlete, took up biking and running again during the pandemic.

Parlevliet said finding activities outside of the confines of a gym helped her reconnect with the activities she used to do regularly. 

“You’re spending time on yourself without focusing on bettering yourself the whole time,” she said.  

All of the RAC’s facilities, including the pool and the track, continue to remain closed, as well as Kerr Hall’s gym. For Ryerson’s student athletes, the transition has also been challenging.   

Before the pandemic, Rams women’s hockey player Mariah Hinds focused on training that benefited her on the ice such as weight lifting. Since the closure of rinks, she’s found ways to adapt. 

“I think COVID has opened me up to a world of self improvement, and through that I found ways where I actually enjoy working out,” Hinds said. “I have become a new fitness person of cardio and body weight agility whereas before I could not see past the weights.” 

Lauren Wong of the women’s volleyball team was recovering from an injury when the pandemic started. The quieter time at home helped her come back to full health to start training again. Through it all, Wong was able to develop a routine at home that helped her succeed. 

Lately she’s been doing a workout program similar to ones that she would get during the season. 

“It is tough not having my team there to push me and watch my form,” said Wong. “But I have learned to have more self-discipline and to be aware of my movements when working out.”

“No matter what the activity is that you are using to meet your fitness goals, it takes time to see improvements”

Cross country coach Albert Dell’Apa said he was lucky his athletes could run by themselves while still being able to connect with teammates and coaches through Zoom and social media. 

Over the past 25 years of coaching, he’s always stuck with two main pieces of advice: patience and consistency. 

“No matter what the activity is that you are using to meet your fitness goals, it takes time to see improvements in your fitness level and many fail as they try to do too much at once,” he said. 

“The body and mind adapt more successfully when you are consistent. Don’t try to work out seven days in week one then once in week two and expect to see improvement. Set reasonable expectations for yourself that are attainable and stick to them!” 

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