DR. RAZAN BAKER
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has left nothing untouched, including sports. All around the world, major events have been delayed until further notice. Gyms and fitness clubs have also stopped operating.
This has meant that training and working out, like most other activities during this period, have shifted to the home. From those who enjoy brisk walks outdoors to professional athletes, all of us have been affected by the crisis — both physically and psychologically.
We have come a long way in terms of awareness regarding physical activity and well-being; it would be a shame if we were to lose that progress or revert to a sedentary lifestyle.
In order to prevent this potential effect, the Ministry of Sports has launched an initiative through the Saudi Sports for All (SFA) Federation dubbed, “Your Home, Your Gym.”
The campaign is encouraging the public to share their daily workouts and is providing advice and information that have attracted many to participate in physical activities to combat boredom.
Another SFA campaign was launched in light of the newly introduced women’s football league. It encouraged female footballers to show their top 10 kickups. Due to popular demand, several other campaigns to engage sports fans are now up and running.
Initially, it seemed as though people believed that this crisis would end rather quickly and that life would return to normal. Some were even inclined to view the lockdown as a sort of much-needed break. As time passes, however, Saudis are becoming increasingly aware of the consequences of staying at home for long periods of time, whether these consequences reflect in their weight or mental health.
This period has shown us how important it is to have a space to exercise or simply meditate. Social media has been indispensable in helping countless people learn how to adjust and improve their habits.
The situation is tougher for elite athletes, however, who might have a clause in their contract to maintain their weight, not to mention their skills. Those in professional sports that do not require special equipment or a large space — unlike swimmers or football players, for example — will likely be able to perform just as well as before once this is all over. But what about those athletes who do require special environments to practice their sport? Questions such as these will have to wait to be answered.
Despite the difficulties, we have seen many positive outcomes that have resulted from exercising at home under lockdown. People now have come to appreciate the value of exercise. Anyone considering moving to a new house will definitely look out for an exercise room instead of an extra salon. Gyms are likely to lower their fees after the lockdown because many people have become used to training at home. Lastly, it is now more evident than ever that staying fit can be achieved anywhere.