EDGE’s Approach to Nutrition and Fitness During COVID
“Stay inside.” “Zoom with friends and family instead of getting together.” “Grocery stores are at limited capacity; please wait in line.” “Don’t dine inside restaurants – we have contact-free delivery!” Today’s environment is anything but synonymous with moving more and eating healthfully. This is a big shift from regular health and wellness recommendations of doing things such as taking daily walks to accumulate 10,000 steps per day and getting fresh vegetables from the grocery store to prepare meals for ourselves and engage with one’s community to avoid social isolation.
The EDGE Learning & Wellness Team’s messaging has not changed during the COVID pandemic; they have simply been forced to get more creative with how to achieve EDGE’s mission to abide by the 7 Dimensions of Wellness. This month’s focus is on the Physical Dimension, with a challenge focused on tracking the frequency of meals prepared from home compared to those ordered from any restaurant or fast-food establishment. Students receive points for posting pictures of meals they’ve made from home in EDGE’s Fitbit Community Group, created to facilitate an opportunity for students to celebrate their successes with the achievement of fitness and nutrition goals. Points are also accumulated for students who order out least often and spend the least amount of money on food ordered out, compared to meals prepared from home. At the end of the challenge, the program will be able to quantify the average spending for each student, in hopes of bringing a financial value-added incentive to healthy eating. The winners are awarded prizes such as culinary tools, mini-blenders, and resistance exercise equipment.
Luckily EDGE’s Nutrition and Fitness Coach has been able to keep our community moving with a little extra creativity. Weather permitting, the go-to activities take place outdoors in non-populated areas, utilizing public benches, steps, and hills to perform simple bodyweight activities such as squats or lunges. Some days may just be a simple walk or light jog through the park. On days where outdoor activities are not possible and group sizes exceed the maximum exercise group that can safely be together in the fitness center, the group gets broken into two sub-groups in a larger community space such as the rooftop of the MDA building or EDGE’s large open Commons. The amazing staff have been incredibly flexible and accommodating, not only to allow previously single-use space to become multi-purpose, but also to donate pieces of fitness equipment such as dumbbells, resistance bands, yoga mats, balance balls, and even an exercise bike! There is certainly no shortage of exercise options at EDGE!
Additionally, each student has the opportunity to work individually with the Nutrition and Fitness Coach for a customized nutrition and workout routine that fits their daily lifestyle. It’s been a challenge to keep EDGE’s community interacting safely, at a distance, with proper sanitation practices at all times; however, they are proud to say that they haven’t had a single COVID case! So can you really stay healthy while in the middle of a pandemic? Well, the proof is in the wellness pudding!
About EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community
EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community is an accredited transitional living program located in Chicago, IL. EDGE offers therapeutically supported residential and non-residential options for post-treatment young adults. The participants, ages 18 -24, are striving to excel academically, while creating a life of balance, joy and wellness.
To learn more about about EDGE contact: firstname.lastname@example.org