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How to Make Sure COVID-19 Doesn’t Make You Fat

So I, like many people, am stuck in my house for the foreseeable future.  All is not lost, though. Since I’m a CPA, I’m able to work from home. But my wife’s business, which involves making assorted clothing and accessories and selling them at shows, is mostly defunct.  Fortunately, she’s found a way to take some of her fabric and make masks for local hospitals and elderly folk. Which is actually way more awesome than what I do.  So the day work is handled, but the problem is after work.  The selection of pastimes is limited.

When we’re not working, we spend a disproportionate amount of time on the couch.  My wife has been binge watching Game of Thrones.  Again.  Also, Lost, Downton Abbey, This Is Us, and other things that I’ve had quite enough of at this point.  For the record, I like Game of Thrones, but after the fiftieth time I’ve had enough.  All of this tube watching can’t be good for the waistline, but the normal exercise regimen is hard to do when you can’t go out in public.  Fortunately, my wife is giving me plenty of reasons to get away from her with her viewing selections. But since going for a jog is potentially dangerous, I’ve had to get creative with my workout choices.

Initially, I went back to my first choice when I started losing weight.  Which, as I mentioned in one of my earliest pieces,  is to work on the Honey-Do list.  You know, that list of things your significant other is always nagging you about.  This is more possible now that I have a couple of hours of sunlight after work. There are always a few things to be done in the yard or around the house.  For example, I spent a week raking leaves. Even though it’s spring now, leaves still fly off of the trees constantly. Seasons are not normal in Florida. Florida is not normal, if you hadn’t heard.  So raking is actually a year round event.

Running or bike riding are my two go-to activities under non-apocalyptic circumstances, because they’re effective and don’t require a gym membership, which I am entirely too cheap to buy.  I admit to being a horrible skinflint with money, but in my defense, that’s considered a job skill in the accounting world. But the onset of the end of humanity has forced me to resort to other methods.  Raking and most other yard work is nowhere near as effective as the usual choices, but it’s a decent option when options are limited. It is also effective at making my wife shut up and stop hassling me about all of the chores I’ve been ignoring, so there’s a silver lining.

Yard work, unless you do something hard core like chop down trees, is about as effective as walking.  Which is about half as effective as running or biking. So I have to work twice as long to get the same effect.  But it’s not like I have anything better to do. It’s absolutely better than watching a constant stream of This Is Us.

I am outside when I’m doing this, though.  Sometimes on the front lawn, so there is a risk of encountering passersby that are carrying the real life Captain Trips disease.  There’s a risk that one of those idiot kids who wouldn’t stop going to Clearwater beach during Spring Break will get too close.  Fortunately, since I generally have a rake or a shovel in my hand, I can give the young conveyors of contagion a whack across the head.  Which would be 100% justified self defense. And pugilism is great exercise.  

Fifteen minutes of a beatdown burns about the same as an hour of raking, according to Cronometer.  Well, sort of. I tried putting “fighting” into the app, and got bupkis. Remember, Cronometer is a Canadian app, and they’re way too polite for such things.  But “boxing” is in the app, so I guess that’s close enough. Anyway, crushing some infected young miscreant (in self defense, of course) is a good calorie burner.  So bring it on, young COVID carriers.

If I don’t feel like working outside or diving into a swirling melee to the death, there’s still hope.  There are a few ways to turn my house into a gym, if I’m so inclined. And I don’t mean using the closet rod or shower curtain rod as a pull up bar.  I’d just break it. And then break my neck. Or have my wife hassle me about breaking the rod, which is at least as bad.

I’m talking about home gym options.  If you’re fortunate enough to own a weight set, strength training is not a bad way to work off some fat.  Even if you just have hand weights, you can do yourself some good. The actual calorie burn is only average, somewhere between walking and running.  Unless you really kill yourself. A “vigorous” workout burns tons of calories. But every time I do that, I can’t move for a week, which defeats the purpose of regular exercise.  So I tend to pace myself.  And there is a hidden advantage of strength training, and that is that putting on muscle makes all of your other activity more effective.  That extra muscle mass will burn more calories with the same effort.

If you own an elliptical or a treadmill, you can produce the same benefit as running outside.  And if you don’t, you can actually just jog in place. It’s all a little dull and repetitive, though, so I try to do these things in front of the television to distract myself from the mundanity.  Unless my wife is watching This Is Us.  Screw that.

Another indoor alternative which can be done in front of the television is to use a streaming workout service.  There are some out there that you can pay for, but there are also plenty of free videos on YouTube. They invariably do the workout to songs by Rihanna or Katy Perry or whatever, so I steer clear.  Unless they have one using ZZTop as a soundtrack, I’m not interested.

If you’re not afraid to leave the house, there are a few ways to stay healthy while not risking infection.  I know a few people who’ve taken to playing golf during our ongoing extinction level event. Including my father, who is an absolute fanatic about it.  Golf is a decent way to burn calories, as I’ve noted in a previous piece.  Certain parts of Florida are saying that golf courses are “essential businesses”, so golf is still possible down here.  Of course, they’re also saying that liquor stores are essential. That’s Florida for you.

Social distancing is very easy on a golf course.  You’re not supposed to be too close, because a stray golf shot might seriously kill someone.  The only problem is that you can’t buy beer from the cart girls when you’re social distancing.  And drinking beer is really the only reason I have to play golf.  Because I suck. I really suck.  I once asked a friend what he thought my handicap was and he just sent me that picture of Captain Picard doing a facepalm.

But if I don’t want to go out, there’s another thing I can do.  And I try not to go out, since my wife makes me go through full decontamination protocol every time I come back.  Which means strip naked and shower off. Normally, stripping naked in front of my wife leads to all sorts of positive experiences, but thanks to coronavirus, it just results in me having to scrub off layers of skin until I’m translucent.

But anyway, the other thing I was talking about is wiffle balls.  I can swat a wiffle ball with a golf club all over the backyard without encountering a single person.  The nature of the wiffle ball is that it won’t go far, so there’s no risk of losing the ball or breaking the neighbors’ windows.  Or my windows.  Now, it doesn’t burn that much in the way of calories.  It’s not much better than just standing.  But it’s not as dull as some of the other things I’ve mentioned.

Another thing I can do is disinfect the house.  Wiping down surfaces with disinfectant is actually something you should be doing regularly.  House cleaning isn’t the best way to burn fat, but since we should probably do it for thirty minutes to an hour a day, it adds up.  It will burn a good 100 to 200 calories. And whenever I clean, my wife inevitably tells me (at great length) how I did it wrong. At which point, she redoes the whole thing herself.  So we both get a little workout this way. It’s a win-win.

I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t like my wife.  I mean, sure, she annoys me, but wives are supposed to do that. Every now and then she has a point and listening to her makes me a better man.  Having her around does generally make things better.  And there’s certain other things we can do together that are extremely entertaining.

But a common problem many couples are having is that the fear of the coronavirus is making them hesitant to engage in more the more horizontal forms of calisthenics.  Sex is as unsocially distanced as you can possibly get. Fortunately, there’s an easy answer. Shower sex. Also, hot tub sex. Use lots of soap, and you’ll be fine.  

An occasional roll in the hay is good for your mental health, which is something we should try to maintain in our isolation.  Although you shouldn’t actually roll in the hay.  Even if the haystack is not infested with the novel coronavirus, it’s still kind of gross.  And surprisingly itchy.

This is sort of okay exercise.  It’s on the same level as yard work.  But noticeably more pleasant. How much you burn depends on how much of a stud you are, though.  If you can go all night, you might not need to work out at all the next day. If you last about as long as Al Bundy from Married With Children, you should probably do more yard work.  Besides, if that’s how long you last, your partner will probably kick you out of the house anyway.  Might as well mow the lawn as long as you’re outside.

Although, honestly,  you shouldn’t be in it for the calorie burn anyway.  If your method of getting your wife or husband to engage in potentially procreational transactions (or girlfriend or boyfriend, if you’re a fan of living in sin) is the possible health benefit, you won’t get anywhere anyway.

So I hope I’ve given a few ideas about how to stay healthy and sane.  There are ways to stay active without leaving the house. Clean the house, do some calisthenics, lift some weights, get the yard in order, and engage in some marital bliss.  Or sinful cohabitational shenanigans, if that’s your thing. Do what you need to do to stay in shape. Because it would be a damn shame if you survived the pandemic only to die of a heart attack.

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Published by drilldowndiet

Formerly obese CPA/health humorist using Cronometer and FitBod to lose weight. Sharing assorted life hacks to squeeze nutrition and exercise into a busy schedule. Also on Twitter at @drilldowndiet and Facebook.

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