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What We Did During Lockdown

The Rising Cost of Physical Inactivity

Much of the information presented in this article is based on American statistics. We are so incredibly fortunate to be living in WA, and seemingly relatively unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns. However; this information also highlights a growing concern with our direction as a society. This follows on from the statistics that were presented in our last email; which showed that:

  • In Australia, it is now estimated that 2 in 3 Australians over 18 are Overweight or Obese.
  • Over 55% of Australians over 18 DO NOT meet the physical activity guidelines and furthermore only 2% of adolescents between the age of 13 and 17 are meeting their physical activity guidelines!
  • We are experiencing a pandemic in the cost of rising health costs due to lifestyle related diseases – such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disorders, pain disorders related to physical inactivity and more. These are preventable diseases that are increasing the burden to our health system at eventually unaffordable amounts.

 

What We Did During COVID-19

Throughout the COVID 19 lockdown – where people had MORE TIME ON THEIR HANDS than ever before. The following activities skyrocketed:

  • Beer sales increased. Cannabis sales increased.
  • Porn sites had unprecedented amounts of website traffic.
  • Despite the increased amount of time that could be dedicated to healthy home cooking – burger, potato chips, oreo, spam and pretzels consumption skyrocketed.
  • Finally, video game servers became overloaded due to the increased traffic of people ‘gaming.’

The source of this information was a Forbes Article, citing research by the Nielsen Group – whose original purpose was to vilify a quote, which was: “If you don’t come out of this quarantine without 1) a new skill, 2) starting what you have been putting off, or 3) more knowledge – you didn’t lack the time, you lacked the discipline.” The article then continued to state how the time should be used for a period of ‘decompression’ and a ‘reset’ opportunity.

During the COVID-19 Perth Lockdowns, I sent the following messages to our staff. We continued to have our weekly meetings (via Zoom Calls) as a means of connection. I live alone – and with the extreme amounts of social isolation had my first ever experiences with anxiety. But, as I relayed to my staff, and ensured that I completed myself, I said: “Please make sure that everyday, we are a) learning something – read an article or a book – b) exercise to our maximum allowable limits outside, and supplement it with a home workout, and c) accomplish something.” I wasn’t perfect. I can exactly recall a few days completely lost to sitting on the couch, and being lost in the negative thoughts and stresses associated with a closed business and lack of social interaction. But with this reminder, I ensured these days were very few. I got myself up and about and was able to turn around my negative emotions on the day.

 

Achievement Determines our Happiness

The other significant impact of COVID-19 was the rising levels of depression, anxiety, negative and self-harm thoughts – and disproportionately affected were our older populations. We are constantly sold the narrative of happiness being synonymous with relaxing on a Thailand or Bali beach, being catered by hand and foot – infact this is an example of unbelievable marketing by our tourism industries.  However; in actuality, our biggest Dopamine bursts – and resultant happiness and euphoria – come from the sense of accomplishment.

This was well demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic – yes, it was amplified by our loss of identity, with our loss of employment and social interaction. But we replaced this loss of identity with poor behaviours – with video games, junk food, a lack of physical activity and a lack of self-directed learning. We had a complete loss of accomplishment.

For this reason, we need to be setting our day up to achieve this success and this sense of accomplishment, and experience this dopamine and euphoria hit. I have spoken previously about initially creating a ‘TO NOT DO’ list. A list of activities that are negatives to our day – that give us the perception of being ‘busy’ and stand in the way of accomplishing our goals. In the interests of creating sustainable habits, I always encourage people to create this list and follow it for at least 3 weeks before layering more behaviour change.

Following on from this, I encourage my close networks to create a ‘3 Activity Daily Power List’. These are not your goals, but instead the actionable daily tasks you must complete to achieve your goals. For myself, I generally split my goals into my own perceived facets of life – Business, Fitness and Personal. For example, in Business – I am continuing to try and expand and develop the Move Physiotherapy brand. Whilst this is my long term goal, on my Power List, I am writing down activities such as ‘Reply Emails’ or ‘Staff Training’. For fitness, I might have the goal of completing a 2x daily workout. Each day, to achieve that sense of accomplishment I ensure that I do not sleep and finish my day until these tasks are completed. This also meant that I was the last person in the gym at 10pm last night, and was the only person running in the rain at 5am last week!

 

Conclusion

Of course, I was slightly side-tracked again with writing this blog post. And it became more of an opinion piece rather than the statistics and facts of what was – or WAS NOT – accomplished during our COVID-19 lockdown. However, my final thoughts are simply: chase that sense of accomplishment. You will feel better for it. And once you have been achieving this success daily for a few weeks – make these daily tasks BIGGER. Push yourself and become the best version of you – mentally, physically and more.

 

What We Did During Lockdown

Daniel Ryan
Owner/Physiotherapist
Move Physiotherapy and Fitness



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