Resident Roundup: Joi C. Spaulding, M.D., M.S.

portrait of Joi Spaulding
By Joi C. Spaulding, M.D., M.S.


How I Stay Active During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As a medical student, I went to the gym almost daily. Even if it meant reviewing lectures on the treadmill or rescheduling a study session so that I could make a quick spin class, exercise was always a priority for me. The gym provided me a space to improve my physical health but also served as a stress reliever and social outlet.

This all changed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and gyms were forced to close during quarantine. With COVID-19 cases rising and the demanding schedule of residency, I quickly found myself less motivated to exercise and did not realize how much I relied on the structure of a formal workout facility to be regularly active.

When weeks of not exercising quickly turned into months, I decided that my New Year’s resolution (cliché, I know) would be to be physically active at least three days a week with the intent to work my way up to five. While a lot of gyms have re-opened, I still do not feel comfortable working out publicly because according to the CDC, “COVID-19 has been shown to spread at gyms, fitness classes, and studios.” See their recommendations here.

I used this as an opportunity to think more creatively about ways to be physically active that did not require the use of a gym. Below are some of my favorite socially distant and “budget friendly” resources for maintaining healthy lifestyle during the pandemic that are both fun and effective. 

Trails in the Triangle

spaulding blog

I absolutely love being outdoors so I take advantage of any opportunity I can to exercise outside and one of my favorite parts of living in The Triangle are all the trails that it has to offer. Whether I am wanting to jog, bike or walk, there is never a shortage of clean and safe places to do so. One of my favorites is the very popular American Tobacco Trail. The American Tobacco Trail (ATT), which is 22-mile-long route that runs through Durham, Chatham and Wake Counties. As you can imagine, there are many entrance points to this trail and directions on how to access it can be found here.

If you want to get into the wilderness a little more, Eno River State Park is a great location for hiking and other family fun physical as well, like camping. As an extra treat, after your hike you can stop at Eno River Farm for a sweet treat and enjoy their homemade ice cream because after all, life is about balance, right?

At Home Exercise

When I am not able to exercise outside, my “go-to” workouts are Pop Sugar Fitness videos and 8 Minute Abs, which are both accessible for free on YouTube. If you have access to WIFI, these workouts can be completed in the comfort of your own home! Pop Sugar Fitness provides a variety of workout options from Yoga to Tabata and range from thirty to sixty minutes long. What I love about Pop Sugar Fitness is that they do not require any equipment and they have modified workouts for all skill levels. 8 Minutes Abs is a short and focused Abdominal muscle workout that is simple but effective.

Working out is not always easy, especially during a pandemic, but I hope these tips mentioned above help you increase your level of physical activity while keeping in mind public health safety guidelines. Additionally, if you eve have health concerns or general questions regarding working out, you can always reach out to your primary care doctor for guidance.

Joi Spaulding is a first-year resident with the Duke Family Medicine Residency Program. Email with questions.
Editor’s note: Duke Family Medicine residents guest blog every month. Blogs represent the opinion of the author, not the Duke Family Medicine Residency Program, the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, or Duke University.