Need mental health help during COVID-19? Get off the couch and exercise

Need mental health help during COVID-19? Get off the couch and exercise

We are approaching two months since the Coronavirus has infiltrated the country and taken over the way we live.

The pandemic has forced our national, state, and local officials to make decisions that order us to stay in our homes and not allow us to enjoy the rights that being an American brings us.

For nearly six weeks, we could not go eat at a restaurant, go to a movie theatre, go to a concert, or attend a sporting event.

Finally, in Oklahoma and the Tulsa area, the restrictions are lifted for now. We are officially allowed to get out into the world and do things we used to take for granted.

Things are not back to normal and will not be for quite a while, but something is better than nothing.

Businesses that were deemed non-essential when this epidemic began, are now officially allowed to be open to the public under social distancing recommendations.

One of those types of businesses that are now open again are gyms or fitness centers. My fitness center I attend opened its doors to the public Monday and it has been a glorious week having the opportunity to sweat again for fun.

It was more than that though. It was the chance to be around people I had not seen in weeks. We practiced social distancing and we made sure to clean every piece of equipment we touched during the workout, but just to be able to be around other people in that setting was a great experience.

As the days have gone by this week, something suddenly became apparent to me. Gyms and fitness centers should have been deemed essential during the lockdown of our state and community.

Giving people the chance to exercise in that type of setting provides a level of mental and physical health that allows people to fight in a time of crisis. People need to be able to fight for themselves.

I am not just talking about fighting the virus, although being physically healthy gives your body a much better chance against diseases than living in an unhealthy way, but I am talking about the ability to stay strong in a difficult time whether it be personally, professionally or both.

Mental health is a term that is used a lot right now. I keep seeing statements and questions pop up on social media platforms regarding people struggling with their mental health and how to stay positive at a time like this.

I understand this is a tough time and we are all struggling. Some are struggling more than others, but there is no question that we all are struggling right now.

To me, there is a clear-cut answer to help alleviate some of that stress. The answer is exercise. Allowing gyms and fitness centers to stay open in times like these are important.

After seeing how it can be done in a safe way where social distancing and cleanliness is practiced, I think the next time our national, state, and local officials are put in a situation like this to make these types of decisions, I believe gyms and fitness centers should be allowed to stay open.

Being lazy, sitting on the couch and watching Netflix all day is the easy choice in times like these. I encourage people to not make the easy choice.

If you find yourself slipping from a mental standpoint and it becomes hard to even think at times and you are physically able to do so, I strongly suggest getting off the couch and exercise, even if it is just a walk around the block.

It could save your mind or even your life.

Kyle Salomon

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