Start by meditating and reading. Look within and without. (Courtesy photo)

Use this time to blossom in place

Tips for growing from within as you shelter in place

Blossom in place. Use this time of restricted outside movement to mobilize all your resources to grow both physically and mentally. Looking for strategies? Here are a few tips from our orthopaedic point of view.

You may have a lot of free time (or no free time at all) now that shelter-in-place orders are commonplace. You have a choice of perspectives: Either you are a prisoner in your own space or wonderfully free to spread your wings in many creative ways. Take some time to think about what you always wished you could do, if only you didn’t have to commute or travel. Start with your mind and work your way down.

Start by meditating and reading. Look within and without. Read for at least an hour each day. And further exercise that mental muscle with a meditation session on your own, and a session guided by a friend, lover or teacher. Many wonderful meditation guides are available online or as apps—if you don’t already live with one.

Design a physical fitness program based on your lifelong wish list. Have you always wanted abs of steel or a muscled chest? Do you want better posture or more flexibility? Write out your list and the series of exercises that can get you there. Any need for guidance? Look at our group and personal, one-on-one online classes. Sign up for a series. Most important, engage your home partners to be your workout buddies. With them, set a group goal.

Simple home exercise tools are the best. A blow-up exercise ball is the number one device. With your feet pushing against the wall, sit on the ball and work up to doing 10 minutes of slow sit-ups. Don’t count…just set the timer on your phone for 10 minutes. Anyone who can do 10 minutes of slow sit-ups a day on a ball will have rock hard abs in one to two months. You can get cleverer, with a wide range of additional exercises on the ball: bench pressing 20-pound weights while lying on the ball, doing biceps curls and overhead pushes.

A pillow or Bosu balance ball is your next best friend. Stand on it with one leg and do arm curls and overheads, squats on one and two legs, and ball throws back and forth with your buddy or against a wall. If you set a clear goal, the list of things that will bring you there is endless.

If you have the funds, a Peloton bike (or their competitors) are amazing ways to bring a wide range of training tools and coaches into your living room. Cardiovascular training was never more accessible than it is now, with unlimited classes or even country tours on a stationary bike. During the warm-ups, hold hand weights and do biceps curls and overhead presses while pedaling. Never let a body part go unused when working out.

Now that business lunches and weird cafeterias are not in the picture, it has never been easier to design and maintain your fitness diet. Home delivery by Thistle or other food plans is one way. Simply focusing on drinking water instead of other beverages during the day drops your caloric intake and improves your sense of wellbeing. Wash out your insides as often as you wash your hands. Set caloric limits and match them to your exercise output. Titrate this to gain or lose weight and muscle.

Finish your day with conversations about things that matter. Engage meaningfully with your housemates and set about making no small plans to solve the world’s problems. You are the solution. Add the Miracle Grow of dedicated mental and physical fitness, and you will blossom in place.

Dr. Kevin R. Stone is an orthopedic surgeon at The Stone Clinic and chairman of the Stone Research Foundation in San Francisco.

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