COVID-19 closed this man’s gym. Here’s how he’s saying fit and seeing Toronto at the same time

A safe and simple fitness regime is keeping Ibrahim “Gaby” Abed healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The…

COVID-19 closed this man’s gym. Here’s how he’s saying fit and seeing Toronto at the same time

A safe and simple fitness regime is keeping Ibrahim “Gaby” Abed healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Toronto resident is taking very long walks around the city, sometimes longer than 30 kilometres round trip. Abed walks alone and outdoors, so the risk of contracting the COVID-19 is low.

The walks started earlier in the pandemic when Abed couldn’t go to the gym but still wanted to stay in shape. With COVID-19 cases surging once again in Ontario, he has no plans to break his low-risk exercise routine.

“All the gyms were closed, and I was trying to lose weight,” Abed said in an interview.

Clocking tens of thousands of steps per walk on his Fitbit, Abed says he has had no problem burning calories and keeping his weight in check. Not only has he kept off the “quarantine 15”, he lost 10 pounds over the summer.

“I’ve always been overweight,” he said. “Because COVID-19 hits overweight people harder, it was more of an incentive for me to find something I could do consistently.”

Abed’s marathon strolls always start at his home in The Junction. He’s walked as far as The Beach neighbourhood and back. His favourite routes usually take him along the waterfront.

“I just kept walking longer and longer,” he said.

Abed says the walks have introduced him to unfamiliar waterfront neighbourhoods as far away as Etobicoke. One day, he stumbled across the the Humber Bay Arch Bridge, a landmark he’d never seen before.

Along with the physical health benefits, Abed says his walks give his mental health a boost too. Working from home in a basement apartment, a long stroll in the fresh air keeps him from feeling cooped-up and isolated. 

Abed’s routes are usually improvised, but as they creep longer in distance, he’s thinking about where his walks will take him next. 

He plans on walking to North York and at one point crossing the city limits.

“Maybe I can get to Mississauga, or even Oakville,” Abed said.

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