Last year, when things felt settled and plans were more reliable (y'know . . . in the Before Times), I talked a lot about fitness and wellness here. And I especially focused on the importance of building our strength and fitness levels as we, (well . . . ) age. I harped on talked about the benefits of regular movement and strength training. I posted sample workouts and fitness tips and inspirational stories. I even got some of my fitness pals to share their stories and workout strategies!
Now that we're deep into . . . a whole new way of living . . . I thought it might be fun to check back in with my fitness pals again -- a year (and a lifetime) later. Y'know . . . to see how they're doing, what's changed for them fitness-wise, and to see if they have any tips or words of encouragement for working out during a pandemic.
Let's kick things off by checking in with . . . Claudia.
(Here's a link to last year's fitness post featuring Claudia. In case you want to refresh yourself before moving on.)
Kym: So, Claudia. How are you doing, generally, during these pandemic times? What’s happening for you? Are you working at home? Going to the office?
Claudia: As a well-resourced White person with the privilege to quarantine in a comfortable suburban home, I am doing great as compared to many, many others. I and my family are (so far) healthy, and that's the most important thing to me.
Kym: What hasn't changed?
Claudia: I worked from home even before the pandemic hit and I work at home now. What has changed? I don't go anywhere. My gray roots are un-dyed, and groceries and all other shopping is curbside-only or delivered. I hauled out my long-neglected sewing machine and have sewed lots of masks to give away to under-resourced people. I am doing the uncomfortable work to be anti-racist and an effective ally to Black people. It feels like every moment of every day is taken up with something. A pandemic bright spot: I can now bake decent sourdough bread.
Kym: What's happening for you fitness-wise? Are you able to work out in the same ways you used to, pre-pandemic? Have you added anything? Modified your routine? Stopped working out altogether?
Being that I don't go anywhere, that includes the gym where I used to do my weight-training and go to spin class. Early on in this pandemic, my husband and I purchased some additional dumbbells, a stability ball and a TRX trainer
to add to the home fitness equipment we already had. But other than the change of location to a home-gym, my fitness routine isn't significantly different. I continue to do alot of bodyweight exercises. I do chin-ups on my doorway chin-up bar; rows, presses, fall-outs, squats and lunges with the TRX; and basic exercises like pushups, Turkish-Get-Ups
and stability ball roll-outs
What saves my sanity from the afore-mentioned not-going-anywhere and the stress and anxiety of our current pandemic/racial injustice/economic collapse situation, is the frequent, long tandem bicycle rides that my husband and I take every week. Urban, suburban and rural. Mountain biking and road biking. The fresh air, change of scenery and exercise is the difference between going nuts and keeping my s**t together.
Kym: Do you have any advice for others who may be struggling or trying to figure out how to add fitness into their lives?
Claudia: If I'm honest, and well....why not be....if it weren't for my workout buddy a/k/a Husband, I would be much less motivated to do my at-home workouts. When he is motivated and I'm feeling tired or just not enthusiastic, I'll start a workout even when I just really didn't wanna. And you know what? I've never regretted a work out once I've started. So even in this time of social-distancing, I'd suggest trying to get or keep up with a fitness buddy. Can you get someone with whom you live to join you in a yoga or weightlifting routine, or a daily walk or bike ride? Can you set a walking or bike-riding date (masks and appropriately distanced) with a friend, with the prize being some social interaction along with your dose of exercise?
Being fit during a pandemic can literally be life-saving. If obesity is a risk factor for a bad COVID-19 outcome, then doing something about the situation takes on a whole new urgency.
Kym: What helps you cope with life in the time of pandemic?
Meditation. As daily as I can make it. I recommend the Ten Percent Happier app
, and in particular my favorite teacher, Joseph Goldstein.
Claudia's commitment to her strength and fitness - like my own - remains as solid as ever. The big difference for both Claudia and for me? Switching from an outside gym to a home gym for our workouts. It takes some "figuring out" to make that work, but it's certainly doable. And worth the effort!
I would also like to echo Claudia's words about the importance of a workout buddy. Like Claudia, I'm fortunate to live with a committed "worker-outer," so I can get an easy (but effective!) kick-in-the-butt whenever I don't really feeeeeel like working out. (Because face it, folks. Thinking about starting a workout is usually draining in itself. Worth it -- because you feel better as soon as those endorphins kick in. But motivation to get started is always tough.) (That's normal, by the way.) Anyway. Find yourself a workout buddy. If it's not someone in your household, find a friend -- even a long distance friend -- that you can whine to . . . AND that you can rely on to tell you "Do it anyway!"
How about YOU? How has your fitness-life changed in the past year? Let me know. Let's get this fitness conversation started again!
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