40 is the new 20

A human being’s muscular strength peaks between the ages of 25 to 30. After that, no thanks to the word “aging,” our physical vigor and sinew naturally decline.

Then how, at the age of 43, do you explain a specimen named Tom Brady? For 21 years, he has accumulated an overabundance of trophies — culminating last week with his 7th Super Bowl ring.

“Tom Brady is an inspiration to me,” said Sen. Manny Pacquiao. “We are both in our forties, competing in sports that are dangerous and physically and mentally demanding.”

Pacquiao credits Brady’s lifelong dedication and conditioning.

“Tom Brady does that every day,” said Pacquiao. “He has no offseason. That takes superhuman dedication and discipline. Tom Brady is always in the back of my mind during training camp and between fights. Because Tom Brady is the gold standard.”

Manny Pacquiao is our Tom Brady. He’s 42 years old. And considering the physicality and brutality of boxing, that’s a very, very old age to be wearing boxing gloves. Back in 2019, the GenSan native became the oldest boxer to win a welterweight world crown. And Pacman’s not finished yet. He plans to engage in two more mega-fights. This 2021 against either Ryan Garcia, a fighter 20 years his junior, or the undefeated Terence Crawford. And in 2022, Pacquaio will climb the stage once more and aim to become our next Philippine president.

On tennis, two of the greatest ever to wield Wilson rackets will turn 40 this 2021. Roger Federer turns 40 this Aug. 8 and Serena Williams turns 40 on Sept. 26. 

That’s “40-love” in tennis-speak.

Both are still active and will, possibly at Wimbledon this year, win another major.

Tiger Woods is 45. His back is 85 years old but that did not deprive the injury-plagued American from winning, back in 2019, The Masters. 

Golf is nowhere near as physical as American football or boxing — and so Tiger is still competing. He’s three majors shy of equaling Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.

LeBron James is NBA’s representative in this “Age doesn’t matter” contest. He’s 36 and has signed a contract near Hollywood that will extend until 2023. By then, his son Bronny will be eligible to play. When the father-and-son play alley-oops together, this means that King James will reign past the age of 40.

LBJ is a lover of fine wine. 

LeBron, like wine, gets better with time.

Donnie Nietes turns 39 this May 12. The world titlist at the 105, 108, 112 and 115-lb. divisions is still fighting. The longest-reigning Filipino boxing world champion has an event scheduled in Dubai this April. 

What’s the secret of these all-time greats?

Tom Brady Sr., the father-in-law of Gisele Bundchen, explains it best: 

“If what you’re doing is something that you really love, then why stop? …  That’s kind of what his (Tom’s) secret is. It’s not the Super Bowl, it’s the process. He loves every day working out, he loves every day eating right, he loves every day doing the TB12 method. He’s never put in minimums. He puts in maximums. He lives football.”

LBJ, MVP

(Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

Will the above letters spell LeBron James, Most Valuable Player?

After 29 games played out of this season’s 72 outings, the answer is a resounding Yes. 

The NBA’s MVP award is one of the sporting world’s most coveted. Given that the league’s 30 teams have a roster of 15 players each, that’s a total of 450 of the best ballplayers among the planet’s 7.7 billion inhabitants. And of that elite group, one will emerge brightest.

This 2021-2022 season, LBJ is the oddsmakers pick to win his 5th MVP crown. Thus far — including yesterday’s 30-point, 13-rebound win — he has averaged 25.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game. He doesn’t lead the NBA with those stats. But the MVP award was never purely about numbers. At times, it’s the intangibles that matter. Why LBJ for MVP?

First, LeBron is 36 years old. This matters. Longevity and consistency matter. Given that he was snubbed for the MVP plum last year (losing to Giannis), he might be the sentimental choice this season.

Second, LeBron leads the NBA with the Real Plus-Minus statistic. He’s No.1 followed by Steph Curry, CJ McCollum, Paul George and Joel Embiid. What’s “Real Plus-Minus (RPM)?” It’s the “+/-” number in the box score and it’s the net change in score (plus or minus) while the player is on the court. To me, this figure is very, very important.

Third reason: LeBron is shooting amazing three-pointers. As of today, he’s shooting 38.1% from beyond the arc. Only his 2012-13 season with Miami, when he averaged 40.6%, was higher. His career average is 34.5%. He does the “Logo Three by LeBron,” shooting near the half court line. His most famous shot was when he unleashed a no-look 3-pointer from the corner, winning a bet against Dennis Schroder.

Fourth, it’s this comment by coach Frank Vogel: “LeBron does it on both sides of the ball. That why he’s probably going to be this year’s MVP, carrying the load offensively and quarterbacking the defense. No. 1 defense in the league and taking these tough assignments and making these plays down the stretch.”

Fifth, the Lakers are en route to another title run. I know, I know, we’re not even halfway through the season. But with Montrezl, Caruso, Kuzma, THT, KCP and Gasol, it’s hard to see anyone stopping the Lakers, even with AD’s recent calf strain injury.

Which brings me to the question: On his 18th year, what motivates King James? 

LeBron wants to play with his son LeBron Raymone. Now 16 years old (and standing 6-foot-2), Bronny will graduate from high school in 2023. This means that the son can do what his dad did, move straight from HS to the NBA. It’s no secret that LeBron wants to play alongside Bronny. This father-and-son combo has never happened in the NBA. The closest was baseball when Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr. played MLB in 1990 and 1991.

Reason # 2: Be the GOAT. Michael Jordan is the undisputed Greatest Of All Time. But if LBJ matches MJ’s six NBA crowns and he overtakes Kareem to become the all-time scorer, then I’d pick King James over Air Jordan.

Scoring at Love

Happy heart’s day! Allow me to reprint an article I wrote a few years ago. It’s a true story…

There once was a dream girl named Jasmin. Intelligent, funny and the president of our college student council, she was a cross between Alice Dixon and Sharon Cuneta. To top all that, she bagged the Intrams MVP award when she smothered that softball for a last inning home run that captured her senior team’s gold medal.

She was all you could ask for. And like any warm-blooded reptile, what’s a man supposed to do? Just drool and stare at her like some lizard with clipped mouth? Naah. Chase her, of course. And so I planted the moves. She said yes to my first date request, lunch at Shakey’s Mango (across Fooda). We climbed Tops. Laughed in “Something About Mary.”

I was close. Or so my imagination thought. I was making inroads, yes; felt her feeling reciprocal, true; but up until then, four weeks past our first date, I never “scored.” And isn’t it all about the score?

We play games for what? The score. We put our money in the bank for what? To keep score. We teach our kids to study hard and do well in the exams to get a high score.

But I was scoreless. Zilch. Nil. Nada. Not even HH. (You know, holding hands.) Then, lo and behold, tadang! Like the genie that popped out in Aladdin, an idea sprung to mind. Take her out on a tennis date! 

One afternoon, surrounded by yellow flowers that danced and the swirling wind that sung when one’s in love, we climbed Cebu Plaza Hotel and had our first tennis date.

A beginner she was, thank you, Lord! That meant one thing. I can smell her perfume. And so I went up close, close, closer. You can’t go screaming the Tennis ABCs from 40 feet across the net, right?

One point. Then I held her hand. You can’t teach a semi-Western grip unless you gently take her hand, look her in the eyes and guide her step by step, right?

Two points. Then we relaxed, sitting side by side with legs almost touching, sweat flowing through our faces while I pulled out a towel then moved closer. She pulled back slightly, hesitated a moment then took the towel to wipe her face — all with a smile. Romantic, intimate — whatever you call it.. I’m scoring! 

Three points. A couple more dates ensued before I convinced her to play a real game of doubles. This time, it was at the Cebu Tennis Club in Banilad and, with two friends, we rallied for half an hour then got ready to play our first set of tennis.

I served first and we lost, 0-1. Then 0-2. Then 0-3. Jasmin was frustrated, I noticed. Finally, when the score was 0-4 against us, I blurted out the four most meaningful words in my life, “We’re still in love.”

Her eyes enlarged bigger than an owls and she stood akimbo with arms locked at the hips as if to say, “What did you say?”

Zero points.

“I mean.. uhh.. our score is still zero. You know.. Love means zero in tennis.”

Good thing, Jasmin’s now my wife. Or else, my score in love would have been.. love.

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Australia

Not since World War II ended in 1945 has sports experienced a disruption like Covid-19. Every major athletic expo last year was canceled or postponed, none larger than the games in Tokyo. 

Tennis in 2020 was affected. Wimbledon, which began in 1877, got deleted from the calendar; that hasn’t happened since WWII. The US Open pushed through but, given its location in pandemic-stricken New York City, no fans watched. The French Open proceeded, allowing entry to 1,000 fans per day; the only normalcy in Paris was Rafael Nadal’s 13th victory. 

Melbourne, Australia. This is the site of the year’s first Grand Slam drama. Usually held in January, it was pushed back three weeks and started last Monday. 

What’s remarkable about the Oz Open is this: as many as 30,000 fans are allowed to watch each day.

Last year, the 14-day event was attended by a total of 820,000 spectators. This 2021, organizers are selling tickets that would allow up to 50 percent capacity; this will grow to 75% in the final week.

This is remarkable. I can’t think of another mega-event (sports or otherwise) that allows these many people. And it’s not like Australia is reckless and is inviting a surge in Covid-19 cases. They’re strict.

Here’s the backstory: With a population of 25 million, Australia has reported a total of only 28,857 cases and 909 deaths. Examine those Covid-19 numbers for a minute. They’re miniscule. By comparison, the Philippines has over 540,000 cases and 11,231 deaths. (Region 7 has logged 31,450 cases and 1,494 deaths — more than Australia.)

Melbourne has endured one of the world’s toughest lockdowns lasting nearly four months. As a whole, Australia’s Covid-19 management is one of the planet’s best. 

For the Australian Open, they chartered 17 planes to fly players, coaches, umpires and officials. As a result of their draconian Covid-19 measures, the mantra of Australia is: “We’re back to normal.”

I chatted with my good friend Jonel Borromeo about this last week when we ran together. Jonel, who calls Sydney his second home, told me that Australia is so normal that they barely stopped face-to-face classes during the pandemic.

With tennis, the players are delighted.

“I’m just really happy to see people in the stands,” said Naomi Osaka, the 2019 champ. “It was a bit lonely in New York.”

Novak Djokovic added: “In Europe, it’s going to be I think far more challenging to experience something that we are experiencing here. We might as well enjoy it as much as we can.”

We hope that this Australian experiment — thousands of fans, most seen on TV not wearing masks — will be a success. But one thing is certain: The sound of the fans hollering and the sight of them clapping is the best music and sight to the players.

“Compared to what we were playing (in front of) last year, which is zero, this is huge,” said Venus Williams. “I am not complaining. It’s exciting. I think every single person there was probably in awe to be sitting at a sporting event, as much as I was to have them there.”

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Super Bowl

In the United States, the most watched annual TV event is not The Oscars or the Trump-Biden debate or even Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

It’s the National Football League (NFL) championship game that’s held every first Sunday of February. Over 100 million American viewers congregate and watch the Super Bowl.

Tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. (Phil. time), it’s the 55th Super Bowl and it’s expected to be spectacular: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) vs. the Kansas City Chiefs (14-2). 

QBs. The most important player in a football team is the quarterback — and the two playing tomorrow are the most sensational. 

Tom Brady is considered the Michael Jordan of American football. He’s playing in his 10th Super Bowl and, if he wins, he’ll collect trophy No. 7.

Brady won six Super Bowls in 20 years playing for the New England Patriots. He transferred to Florida last March and may win the title on home soil — the first team in Super Bowl history to play in their home stadium.

Patrick Mahomes is the younger Mr. Brady. They have an 18-year age gap (25 vs. 43 years old). Only in his fourth year in the NFL, Mahomes has already collected the MVP crown (2018) and will aim to win his second consecutive Super Bowl ring tomorrow.

I suggest you do as I’ve done the past weeks: visit YouTube and type his name and you’ll be presented with a deluge of Mahomes wizardy. You’ll find out why he’s called “The Magician.”

LIVE WATCH. I’ve had the privilege, back in Dec. 2014, to watch a live game between the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins. The day after our arrival in New York, my close buddy from the high school days, Ping-J Villegas, picked me up in his BMW convertible. Inside the open air 82,000-capacity Metlife Stadium, it was freezing cold but the atmosphere was electrictrifying — and that was just a regular game. 

IT’S ENTERTAINMENT. The Super Bowl is not only about the game but also about the Half-time show and the TV commercials.

Everybody looks forward to the half-time show. I’ve watched plenty and my favorites include the performances of Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Madonna and Katy Perry. Last year featured J. Lo and Shakira. My all time favorite is still Michael Jackson in 1993 in Pasadena, California. For tomorrow’s extravaganza, it will be by the singer The Weeknd.

Everybody looks forward to the Super Bowl commercials. Yes, while we all normally dread and skip the ads — not tomorrow. The most expensive advertisements are sprinkled throughout tomorrow’s contest. How much? A 30-second spot will cost $5.6 million. In Phil. pesos, that’s P280 million.. Over P9 million per second! Crazy rates but you have over 110 million eyeballs watching your product or service. Some of the best ads that I’ve seen include those from Budweiser (frogs), Pepsi and Doritos (grandpa ashes).

Back to the game: Who will win? The Chiefs are favorites but the sentimental choice is the Bucs. In this “greatest of all time” trivia, it will be fun to watch if the Baby GOAT can beat the GOAT.

Alexandra Eala

The first time I met the country’s tennis sensation was back in October 2012. That was over eight years ago and the now-15-year-old standout was then a diminutive little girl who stood no taller than the 3-foot-high tennis net.

But even if Alex Eala was only seven years old at that time, she stood confident and tall and competed in the Unisex-10-and-under category to play against boys and girls who were much taller and older.

Back in 2012, my daughter Jana joined the Palawan Pawnshop Group 2 age group tournament held in Puerto Princesa. The day before the tournament started, we booked a time slot at a nearby court.

As Jana and I practiced forehands and backhands, the other court was occupied by the Eala siblings: 7-year-old Alex and her older brother Miko (now 18 and a tennis scholar at Penn State in the U.S.). They were accompanied by their dad Mike and their lolo, the late Bobby Maniego.

I don’t think the then-7-year-old Alex won that 10-and-under Palawan tournament but it was obvious, given her steely focus and the intensity of her left-handed shots, that she was a future star.

The past two weeks, every major Philippine daily had a story on Alex Eala. Her name appearred alongside major stories like SBP’s cancellation of the FIBA hosting and the transfer of PBA’s CJ Perez to SMB.

Alex Eala is now a major sports star. She’s only 15 years old but is already the world’s No. 3-ranked junior player. (In tennis, the age cap for juniors is 18.) She was briefly ranked No. 2 before she stepped one slot lower. But there’s no doubt that she will soon reach the pinnacle of girls junior tennis and be world No. 1.

If my memory is correct, only one other Filipino has been ranked at the top spot in juniors. That’s Manny Tolentino in the 1980s. 

To get a better glimpse of Alex’s game, I suggest you go to YouTube. Type “Alex Eala” and you’ll be treated to every match that she played the last two weeks. And what a treat! Her offensive forehand and impressive retrieval skills are a delight to watch. 

Last week in the W15 Manacor ITF Rafael Nadal Academy World Tennis Tour event in Mallorca, Spain, she bested five players (including the No. 1 and 5 seeds) to win her first pro title. This week, she won two more times before losing in the quarters. 

She won seven straight matches against much older and experienced ladies — and she’s only 15. 

No less than Rafael Nadal, who’s in Adelaide preparing for the Australian Open, congratulated Alex. This title is a major step forward and adds to her impressive 2020 when she won the Australian Open girls’ doubles title and reached the semifinals at the French Open. Unfortunately, no thanks to Covid-19, there will be no Australian Open junior event next month.

But, when the world health situation improves later this year, expect to see another junior Grand Slam title and a world No. 1 ranking for Ms. Alexandra Maniego Eala.

Tokyo Olympics

The world’s most populous metropolis is not New York, Metro Manila, London or Bangkok. With nearly 38 million residents, the Greater Tokyo Area holds this distinction. It’s also the richest; its GDP is US$1.8 trillion — five times that of the entire Philippines.

Tokyo was first tasked to hold the 1940 Olympic Games. But with plans of engaging in another sport — World War II — the Tokyo Games were canceled and transferred to Helsinki. When the dust of war dimished, Japan was asked to host again. This time, the cauldron was lit to start the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

Fast forward to 2020, the same scenario transpired. No thanks to Covid-19, the Tokyo Olympics — like 1940 — was once again postponed.

But this July 23 to August 8, the Games in Japan’s capital are scheduled to happen. But will it? While 50 countries have already started injecting vaccines, Japan has not commenced yet. Their target date for vaccinations in late late February.

The Tokyo Olympics is a mere six months from now. Will the city be ready to host the 11,000 athletes all flying in from 206 nations?

I hope so. The Olympics will radiate a positive air in today’s “positive” world.  

The problem is many people are skeptical. In an article from The Times (London), it stated that 80 percent of Japanese do not want the games to be held. They fear that the deluge of Olympians, officials and fans will further spread Covid-19.

“No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it’s too difficult,” read The Times article, quoting a senior member of the Japan’s ruling coalition. “Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

Immediately after this damaging story appeared, the IOC and Japanese officials were quick to denounce it.

“Six months ahead of the Games, the entire Olympic movement is looking forward to the opening ceremony on July 23,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “I had the opportunity today to speak with all the 206 National Olympic Committees of the world and they are all fully committed and looking forward to the Games.”

Bach said the Tokyo organizers are exploring all options to safely hold the Games. The issues range from immigration rules to vaccination policies to allowing spectators to watch.

Come July, my take is that the athletes would have gotten the vaccine and would be deemed safe to travel and compete. Also, worldwide, sports has started. The most successful was the NBA bubble in Florida that lasted for over three months with zero positive cases. 

“We know how passionate Olympic athletes are and this is why we know they will be flexible enough and they will adjust to this situation we are all in now,” said Bach. “They will enter the Olympic stadium on the 23rd of July with full pride and sending an important message … to the entire world — a message of resilience, of Olympic passion, of Olympic values like solidarity and peace.”

To be or not to be? That is the question. Six months from now, these words will be declared: “Let the games begin!”

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2021 Cebu Marathon

Over 1,400 runners have registered thus far for the 2021 Cebu Marathon Virtual race. I mean “thus far” because, while the deadline was originally set last Thursday night, another 10 days were added to accommodate those who have yet to join. The new and final deadline is on January 10. 

If you’re one of those who occasionally runs and walks, join the race. In case you’re unfamiliar with how a virtual race goes, it’s simple. You run or walk at your place and time of choosing. What’s important is you record and complete the distance within the cutoff time.

It’s 2021! There’s no better way to start the year than to set a target and to accomplish it. The targets are doable. There’s the 15K distance. To the non-athlete, covering 15,000 meters by foot seems far. Yes, it’s the 5K distance from USC Talamban to Ayala Center Cebu — multiplied by three. It’s not a “walk in the park.” But if you consider that you’re given four hours to complete this distance, it’s achievable. 

Half-marathon. This is the next option. This one measures 21 kms. That’s the 10.5K distance from USC Talamban to SM Seaside Cebu — multiplied by two. The 21,000-meter stretch looks daunting. But if you’ve been running or walking far distances for sometime, this is a good target. The cutoff time is very kind: five hours. (As comparison, the Milo Marathon 21K has a 2.5-hour cutoff time for you to avail of the medal. This doubles that deadline.) 

Finally, there’s the 42K. This one I don’t recommend unless you’ve been a serial runner or one who’s willing to endure suffering and pain. The cutoff is a very unselfish 10 hours. 

Why run and walk and join the Cebu Marathon? 

First, it comes at the beginning of 2021. After the frightful and horrendous 2020, no year was as highly-anticipated and welcome as this new year. And for you to join a physically-demanding race and to raise your arms and smile at the finish is an accomplishment that will carry over for the remainer of 2021. You’ll feel confident, reassured and optimistic (“positive” is a word that I would have used.. except now).

Second, it’s 1521 plus 500 years. This year is a historic moment for the Philippines and, in particular, our very own Sugbu. Joining the Cebu Marathon virtual race and completing the distance will mean being part, in your own way, in the celebration. It will also mean receiving not only the well-designed Finisher’s Shirt but, more importantly, the Finisher’s Medal with the number “500” engraved on the metal.

Third, no New Year’s Resolution is complete without a fitness goal. Once you join and complete the 15K or 21K or 42K, this will trigger a perfect January start for your fitness journey that will reverberate in the coming 11 months months. You’ll be off to a good new year’s start.

To join, visit cebumarathon.ph. 

NBA 2021

In America the past week, the average daily number of new COVID-19 cases exceeded 200,000. This is horrifying. It’s also very, very different from what the NBA experienced when the “Disney Bubble” happened months ago.

Last July when the NBA season resumed, 22 of the league’s 30 teams returned to Orlando, Florida. From the bubble’s first regular season game on July 30 until the last day on October 11 when the L.A. Lakers defeated the Miami Heat, not a single person inside the bubble tested COVID-19 positive. 

Incredible. That’s at least 73 days involving hundreds of players, coaches, referees, officials, hotel staff — and not a one COVID-19 case. 

The 2020 NBA Bubble was remarkable for many episodes. The near-stoppage of the season when the Milwaukee Bucks and the other teams protested the shooting of Jacob Blake. The Clippers’ loss to the Nuggets despite the 3-1 lead. LeBron and AD’s bromance that resulted in an “easy” championship win for the Lakers. Add one more statistic — zero coronavirus cases — to the many significant moments in the “Orlando Bubble.” That’s the 2019-2020 season.

Yesterday, the first pre-season games of the 2020-2021 season started. This time, there won’t be a strict bubble. Although spectators are disallowed from watching their favorite teams, the players will fly to various cities and be exposed to the public (hotels, buses, airports).

Will we experience another scenario with zero cases throughout the 72-game regular season (reduced from the usual 82 games)? Absolutely not. It’s a guarantee that several NBA players will get infected during the NBA season that will start on Dec. 22 and end in July.   

What are some of the new protocols with the NBA season?

First, if a player tests positive, he has two choices: be inactive for at least 10 days since the first positive test or onset of symptoms, or he has to get two negative PCR tests (at least 24 hours apart).

Another ruling states, “Any player who tests positive, even if asymptomatic, will not be allowed to exercise for a minimum of 10 days and then must be monitored in individual workouts for an additional two days.”

Teams are allowed a maximum of only 45 people when they travel. There will be an anonymous tip number that anyone can call to report possible violations of the safety protocols.

One policy disallows team personnel from visiting bars, clubs, gyms, spas or pools, or from participating in social gatherings with more than 15 people.

The NBA has anticipated that positive cases will be reported. But they’ve also agreed that the entire season won’t be shut down simply because of one or two cases. This means that the league has to manage these situations as efficiently as possible.

The good news: the Pfizer vaccine has been approved in the U.S. Considering that there are only 510 players in the league (17 players x 30 teams), the NBA officials will request for the players to be administered first. I’m sure we’ll see photos of Steph, Kyrie, Giannis and the other NBA stars getting that vaccine soon.

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Mental Health

The mind and body are intertwined. This COVID-19 pandemic has disturbed our lives. One aspect that has been affected is our minds. Since March, we have added fears and anxieties. Many cannot sleep well. Depression is at an all-time high. This pandemic has spared no one — including world-class athletes.

I remember Mary Joy Tabal’s honest confession to me a few months back: “Grabeh ako prayers (I prayed a lot), like every night jud, praying for something that would divert my worries, my overthinking. I always want to be productive and the lockdown was so difficult.”

Elite athletes are not ordinary people. They push their bodies and minds to the extreme levels. They are restless, often sweating for hours everyday. They set targets. The best of them, including Joy, wanted to run the Tokyo Olympics last August. They had to stay in bed and watch CLOY.

Stanford University and Strava partnered in a study, “Impacts of COVID-19 on Professional Athletes.” They interviewed 131 top U.S. athletes to check on the effects of COVID-19. The results are not shocking.

A good 22.5% of these elite athletes reported feeling down or depressed during the COVID-19 restrictions — a 5.8 times increase compared to last year. Before the lockdown, only 4.7% reported feeling anxious more than half the days in a week. This pandemic: 27.9% of them feel nervous — a six-fold increase in anxiety levels. Seventy one percent of them are worried about their finances.

“It’s pretty obvious that people right now, given everything that’s been going on in 2020, the calamity across the board, that people are going to have mental health struggles and difficulty exercising and a lot of these symptoms,” says Dr. Megan Roche, in a Time.com article by Sean Gregory, “COVID-19 Shutdowns Have Taken a Massive Toll On Elite Athletes’ Mental Health.”

Rebecca Mehra, a respondent who was preparing for the U.S. Olympic trials, said: “It makes you feel more normal to know other athletes have been frustrated and having a tough time. I was just in such a rut. I didn’t want to get up and go to practice. I barely felt like running.” 

Pedro Gomes, an Ironman triathlete, added: “Mentally, I was definitely lost. I just did not know how long the (swimming) pool was going to be closed for. The uncertainty of not knowing when this is going to end and being completely out of my control, it was something scary.”

This study was conducted from March to August. The good news is that many restrictions have been lifted. But if elite athletes, whose minds and bodies we’d consider superior and invulnerable, get affected mentally, how much more us, ordinary mortals?

My learning from this: Take care of yourself. Mind and body are one. If you take care of your physical self, it will improve your mental state. One of the best ways is to exercise regularly. Exercise clears the stress hormones out of our system and helps us relax and calm down. It improves our mood. Exercise is the most potent and underutilized antidepressant.. and it’s free. 

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Categorized as Covid-19