The stress caused by the pandemic has affected everyone differently, but for Brian Harris it can be particularly stressful. He suffers from Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that can worsen under stress. The exercise was a lifeline for Mr. Harris, who is 48 years old. When his gym was temporarily closed in March and he could not meet his personal trainer, her husband Paul Willaflor joined him.
Mr. Villoughlore, 36 years old, received personal training and in the early days of the pandemic developed an education that a couple could follow together. I have to be creative, he said. We had no weight, but we had a water sprinkler that resisted with its upper body. Harris says if he feels depressed, Willaflor urges him to find time to train.
Mr. Harris works in business development, mergers and acquisitions for a financial services firm in San Antonio, and Mr. Villaflor has played an important role in her husband’s stress management over the years. Since I was 28 years old, I’ve worked an average of 70 to 80 hours, says Harris. And 6 to 8 p.m. is the norm if I have to do business across the finish line.
For years he had the rhythm of his work set. I didn’t concentrate on eating well or practicing, and I suffered the consequences, he said. Mr. Harris, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of 17, had three or four major episodes a year. As an adult, he was hospitalized at least once a year. I knew something had to change, he said.
In 2015, shortly after his meeting with Mr. Willaflor, he consulted a doctor who advised Mr. Harris to review his diet. Mr. Villoughlore, who worked in retail, left his job to stay home full-time and do everything from cooking to working with Mr. Harris’ chief of staff to make sure the employees’ lunches were healthy. At first it seemed we needed a village to keep him healthy, Willaflor jokes. His diet was quite strict – no herbs, no heavy dairy products, no roughness.
Mr. Harris has also opted for a fitness regime with an indoor workout at 4:30 a.m., five days a week. The dedication was worth it: He says he hasn’t had an epidemic since 2015. Annual tests showed that he had gained muscle mass. He was able to maintain his physical condition during the pandemic. This year the doctor told her that her body age, the measure of how old you are based on your health and physical condition, is 28 years.
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Despite the fact that Harris has been working from home since March, he follows his early bird training program. Her alarm goes off at 3:30 at night. At 4:15 am he lies down on a yoga mat and follows the different procedures of the Down Dog appendix. He then does an hour of strength training, spending days on each of the main muscle groups such as the legs or chest. The couple bought a platoon in July and Mr. Harris is a fan of the company’s 20-minute activities.
He pays attention to the runway, which he usually overlooks when he is in a hurry to work. Yoga and stretching have a great influence on the way my body feels, he said. I thought the big knots were normal, but now I realize that recovery is just as important as training.
Mr. Harris, on the left, and her husband Paul Willaflor played tennis during the pandemic.
When Mr. Harris couldn’t see his coach, Mr. Willaflor developed a workout that used his rowing handle to create resistance during shoulder lifts, shoulder presses, tricep stretch, bicep stretch and isolated back movements. He uses the chair to train in various ways, including bending over the Bulgarian knees, lifting and puncturing them. These two men did push-ups with their hands on the seat, clinging to the core to prevent the seat from slipping. At the end of May Messrs Harris and Villaflore resumed their training with their personal trainer.
The couple played tennis during the pandemic, and now instead of two or three hours of cycling at the weekend, they spend up to six hours on a friend’s tennis court. It’s a different kind of cardio, Mr. Harris says. Cycling is only a front-to-back sport, but the lateral movements needed in tennis are more functional, he says.
The competition between the men allowed each of them to remain responsible throughout the pandemic. When I’ve seen the peloton ride 15 minutes and I’ve seen it ride 20 minutes, I’ll ride 20 minutes tomorrow, Willaflor said. And if he hits harder in tennis, I hit harder. We always try to keep up with others.
Mr Harris, Centre, and Mr Willaflor stretch out after training at the San Antonio gym.
Breakfast of champions: Protein and turkey bacon in the plains of Thomas Bagel.
Routine shopping: Mr. Willaflor hasn’t been to the grocery store since March. He shops online and picks up products from his butcher’s and fishmonger’s shop. I pride myself on finding the best ingredients, he says.
Snacks: Completely natural fig bars and homemade oatmeal balls.
Dinner ritual: Six ounces of protein with a vegetable honeycomb or fried.
I’m not touching myself: Fast food or processed products.
Splash: Chocolate and red meat. If I eat red meat more than once a week, Paul lets me know because I have stomach problems, says Harris.
Mr Harris had to revise his diet by omitting processed and spicy foods. Mr Willaflor is responsible for food preparation.
: I can’t live without my Apple watch and I write down all my food in the MyFitnessPal application to mark my diet, which food can cause me problems, says Harris.
Pandemic: Cycling peloton
Clothing: Vuori and
Sneakers: On this site
Playlist: Britney Spears
Mr. Harris evaluates tennis as an improvement of lateral movements on and off the court.
Prosperity during the crisis
Long-distance conferences, books from home and children trying to go to school while working from home are just some of the pressures people are under as a result of the pandemic.
Cory Evans, director of health and wellness at the University of California at Berkeley, says mindfulness exercises can help create a space between you and your emotions. If you feel overwhelmed, anxious or absorbed by negative thoughts, try to take a deep breath, stretch intelligently or gradually relax your muscles, she says.
Making quality connections with others, even with a simple act of writing, can help to create positive emotions and help us thrive in times of crisis, said Evans at the Big Good Science Centre in Berkeley. Even if the temperature drops, it’s important to spend some time outside, as she says. It doesn’t matter if she goes to the garden or to the balcony or terrace, you don’t have to walk far to get in touch with nature, she says.
If you don’t feel motivated, make an appointment with a fellow rapporteur to help you stay active, she says. As the holiday approaches, it’s the perfect time to explore your creative side through crafts or cooking. Research shows that creativity can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress and lead a more balanced life, says Evans.
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