Jeff Cappo before and after the lockdown | Photos courtesy of Jeff Cappo
Run Cappo run: Finding health in the time of COVID
The COVID-19 lockdown brought a radical lifestyle change for Jeff Cappo — for the better
by Holly Toulejour
The stay at home order hasn’t stopped Jeff Cappo from focusing on his physical and mental health.
Cappo, from the Muscowpetung First Nation, lives in Regina and works as a cultural liaison in the Regina Public School system. When the pandemic hit, Cappo stayed at home like the rest of the world.
“Two weeks into the lockdown my mental health was suffering so I made a decision to eat healthier and start running with my girlfriend,” said Cappo.
Losing weight wasn’t his goal, but eight weeks later he has dropped 20 pounds, and his doctor decreased his diabetes medication from eight units a day to four.
Before, Cappo was staying up late and sleeping in. Now, he is in bed by 9:00pm and looks forward to his 6:00 am run.
Exercise and healthy eating might allow one individual to get off his medication but that is not the case for everyone, said Allanna McArthur, community dietician for the Prince Albert Grand Council.
However, there are many benefits to living healthy, she said. Weight loss shouldn’t be the goal, but rather enhancing “the overall quality of life and improved mood, but also to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.”
Cindy Deschenes, a Saskatoon-based mental health therapist, also attributes mental well-being to good eating habits, exercise and especially good sleep management.
She encourages individuals who are struggling during the lockdown to “reach out for support, take walks and connect with nature and Elders.”
Though she acknowledges there are people who are not doing well in isolation, “it can be a time to reset, reinvent, and refocus on what is important and meaningful in our lives,” said Deschenes.
Cappo encourages people to challenge themselves and suggests taking small steps toward a healthier lifestyle.
“Start with walking and then running for a minute,” he said.
When Cappo began running he couldn’t last three minutes, and now he runs three miles a day without breaks.
“(Now) people call me Forest Gump,” he said.
As the time of the interview, Cappo was awaiting his next doctor’s appointment, hoping to be taken off his diabetes medication or put on a lower dosage.
My name is Holly Toulejour. I from La Loche, Saskatchewan. I have two children. My son Kiedis is 12 and he is a gentle giant, while my daughter Maddie is a fire breathing dragon. We have a fur baby we call “King Chico.” I am currently studying at the University of Victoria in the Masters in Indigenous Social Work program. I have always wanted to take the INCA program and thanx to covid it was moved online so here I am!