Journalists have, for centuries, been an important cog in passing along critical information to the public. From informing them about the goings on in a neighborhood to providing useful nuggets that can save lives.
Liberty Zabala, a reporter for San Diego’s FOX 5, is one of thousands of reporters who continue to share stories of those coping with the new normal caused by the global spread of COVID-19.
In order to properly decompress, Zabala has enacted an at-home workout program designed to keep her healthy — mentally as well as physically. She has to, especially considering her sister is a doctor and on the frontlines of taking on a pandemic.
“I have been making a point to train every day. I train five times a week and I have not stopped that just because of this quarantine,” Zabala said. “It forced me to get a little bit more creative with my workouts because I don't have the luxury of a gym, but you know, that's what you do. You adapt and overcome. You still need to make time for your fitness and your daily workout because it's going to help your health and help boost your immune system, but also give you a sense of normalcy and peace and routine and mind health.”
Zabala is not alone in her assessment of what happens when stress is not dealt with in a healthy manner. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC), coping with stress can induce a number of changes in the human body. From a lack of sleep to a change in eating patterns to the worsening of any mental or physical problems.
The benefits of physical training is going to help you in every aspect of your life in my opinion.
The CDC points out some people turn to smoking or alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism. As an alternative the agency recommends regular exercise, stretching, meditating, breathing exercises, and getting plenty of sleep among many other healthier options.
“It is absolutely crucial,” Zabala said of a home exercise program. “Even before this quarantine my fitness has always been a tool for stress release, for boosting my own immune system, for boosting my own health and wellness. So for me, it's full circle. The benefits of physical training is going to help you in every aspect of your life in my opinion.”
It isn’t unusual to catch Zabala on social media giving viewers a glimpse into how she has incorporated workouts in and around her home since the gym is unavailable. From strapping on a pair of boxing gloves and doing a boxing workout with her boyfriend to converting a trip up the stairs into a modified leg workout.
For several years Zabala has been active in practicing Krav Maga. For her instructor, Mike Mihalkanin, he’s had to adapt, echoing the tips he’s often passed along to his students.
“We talk about it in teaching self defense that a situation is going to be tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving,” said Mihalkanin, a sixth-degree black in Martial Arts and a third-dan black belt in Krav Maga. “And that's what's happening to us right now. So that adrenal dump that's happening to everybody this stress level, (exercise) is a great release. … I know it helps me just kind of process everything and kind of keep everything in check and balanced. And I think it's really important for people to have some type of a release: riding a bike, training MMA, Krav Maga, kickboxing, something they have to do to release that stress.”
Mihalkanin has outfitted his gym, MMA Academy in San Diego, with cameras so he can host virtual workouts with his students. That has led to him getting more practice as well. Now that he’s hosting sessions and recording workouts for students, he finds he is demonstrating the moves more frequently.
Both Mihalkanin and Zabala have adapted their eating and shopping habits to the new normal. Observing the empty shelves inside grocery stores has given Zabala the mindset to just take what she needs and not over do it. She also ensures when it comes to snacks, if she doesn’t buy them and they aren't in the house, then she won’t be tempted to eat them. Meanwhile Mihalkanin has adopted a somewhat Spartan mindset to his food habits. He searches out what’s in the cupboard. If the expirations date hasn’t passed, then it’s fair game.
Despite what has been a sobering moment experienced by many around the world, Zabala has learned to focus on the good.
“The silver lining, I believe, first and foremost is when you are stuck at home, guess what, you have so much time with your loved ones,” Zabala said. “And I say take advantage of that. When are you going to have this abundant amount of time to really express your love to your significant other or your children or your family? Take advantage of that. Have family board games. Have family workouts. Cherish this time. We live such busy, busy lives every day and this will force us and has forced us to slow down and cherish one another.”