Las Jefas: Staying Active During the Pandemic A Physical and Mental Health Solution

By Marisa Rivera

March is not only Women’s History Month, but also National Nutrition Month and as “Las Jefas”, — The Bosses — of our household, we must celebrate ourselves and those

that came before us. As the bosses, we must remember the

importance of preparing nutritious meals for our families every day.

Focusing on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating habits, is part of a healthy household in addition to developing physical activity habits.

The year 2020 was an epic year for all of us. We were stripped of many things; freedom to gather with family and friends, freedom to travel, freedom to go out without a mask, and freedom to go to the gym. But 2020 also gave all of us an opportunity to be together with our household family members for extended periods of time.

Marisa Rivera Keeping the ocean clean by collecting plastic during her biking or walking activities during the pandemic.

Did you take time to stay active during the pandemic? Maybe you found that it forced you to get outside. There are great benefits to being active, especially as a family. Sharing active play with your family is not just a good way to get your heart pumping and burn calories, it is also a great way to build family bonds.

What sport or activity have you picked up during the pandemic? Now that we can spend more time with our children or grandchildren at home, or with our loved ones, how about practicing a sport together? You could try soccer, football, golf, basketball, skiing, sledding, biking, swimming, fishing, etc., or how about putting on your roller skates or going for a hike together. Going outdoors has great physical and mental health benefits, and better yet, it allows us to feel young again. Teach your children or grandchildren some of the games you used to play outdoors when you were a child, like jumping rope, climbing a tree, hide and seek, etc.

I quickly learned that not exercising or doing a sport during the various shutdowns was not only affecting my physical health, but my mental health. I needed to get out. I have been a biker for the last 20 years, so I took out my bike every day. I love attending Zumba classes at a gym, but the gym was closed, so I had to look for alternatives.

I am fortunate to live across the street from the beach, so I started to walk and increase my miles of walking every day. I am also an ocean lover, and it mortified me seeing how much garbage and plastic I was seeing during my walks. I decided to do something about it. Now I take a biodegradable bag every time I walk and pick up garbage (mostly plastic) during my walks, fulfilling one of my passions – keeping the oceans clean. I figure if I walk 300 days a year, that is 300 bags of garbage out of the ocean every year. To my surprise, as other people saw me collecting the plastic, they have also started collecting garbage themselves. One simple action started a movement!

My advice to you is that when you are feeling down, or unmotivated, or simply “stuck at home”, go outside and play to keep your physical and mental health in check!

Marisa Rivera is president of Mpowerment Works, a motivational speaker, executive coach and leadership and empowerment consultant. Marisa@ MpowermentWorks. com.
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