I shuffle out of my room and run into my mom clad head-to-toe in biking gear. She nags me to go outside and water the garden, or even worse, join her on a bike ride. Good thing the government is on my side with that shelter-in-place order, so I’ll be bingeing Netflix all day. But wait — apparently, now they’re encouraging us to get out and exercise? People are supposed to be active and healthy? Science needs to stop siding with my mom. I happen to be rather fond of my healthy quarantine lifestyle of snacking on the couch and watching season after season of The Bachelor and Too Hot to Handle.
The fact that anyone has motivation to leave their house during a pandemic is honestly impressive. Every jogger that runs past my window has me wondering if they’re some kind of superhuman that actually copes with stress productively. Sure, I’d love to get #fit too, but right now, the only walks I can muster up the energy for are the ones from my couch to my fridge.
Where do y’all get the optimism to train for marathons that aren’t going to happen anytime soon? You’re probably the same kind of people that turn your Zoom video on and still try in your classes despite pass/fail grading. All the respect, but you’re ruining my excuse to do nothing all day, and your motivation to self-improve is making me feel guilty.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that people are discovering the outdoors. Many studies point to the positive impacts of sunlight and Vitamin D formation on stress, mental health and cancer prevention. The combination of nice weather and pandemic-fueled boredom has prompted everyone to flood to the forests as if greenery alone could cure COVID-19.
But let’s be clear: 23 people crowded in a pack in a forest preserve still isn’t OK. The presence of trees does not, in fact, eliminate the spread of coronavirus. Communing on a public trail is still communing. Sure, your not-socially-distanced herd that makes the outdoors unsafe justifies my indoor, isolated couch potato existence, but increased contact increases transmission rates and contributes to a global pandemic. Please don’t.
But if you can give up your divine right to jog, keep the workout to your living room and join the masses of newfound Chloe Ting fanatics. Your screams as you struggle to stay upright just three minutes into the first video will entertain your fellow housemates. A hundred squats a day will earn you some extra quarantine snacks, right?
Still, in my own self-isolation, I can’t fathom putting on anything besides sweatpants. And to my fellow couch potatoes, thank you for your service to public health. Self-care in quarantine, whatever that looks like for you, is more important than any Instagram trend. We might come out of quarantine with less than rock-hard 16-pack abs, and that’s okay. Even if you come out of quarantine with a tummy, sport it with pride. It helped save lives.