Like most people, I’ve done a lot of different things during the early days quarantine to pass the time. I baked banana bread. I bought a puzzle. I did online trivia. I signed up for at-home fitness classes. At one point I even decided to run 100 miles in a month — just because. Although I was adopting all of these new activities, months later and I can safely admit, few of them stuck.
But one thing I have done every single day since the days of stay-at-home orders, social distancing, and masks is get in a 30-minute workout. Some days these workouts have been full-on sweaty 10-mile runs or hour-long bootcamp classes. But other days, my workouts have been much gentler. They’ve included yoga, flexibility and stretching, and even just walks around my neighborhood. Regardless of my method, I have worked out for more than 160 days straight.
Now, I’m aware it sounds a little crazy, and it’s not necessarily a goal that I set for myself all those months ago. Rather, I found carving out these moments to challenge my mind and body were a way to manage a situation I couldn’t control. So every day, I’d lace up my UA HOVR™ Phantom 2 Running Shoes ($150) or roll out my yoga mat and do the work.
Beyond any physical benefits this adventure has brought me, I learned a valuable lesson that I feel pretty confident sharing with anyone who is wondering how on Earth I have been able to keep this up for nearly five months: rethink what a workout means to you.
A workout doesn’t necessarily look the same to everyone — and why should it? We’re all operating at different skill and fitness levels. Not to mention we all have different goals. Now, more than ever, a workout isn’t going to look the same as it did a year ago, so redefining what a workout means to you is essential. You may not have previously counted your daily commute or walk to grab a drink with a friend as a workout and instead reserved the label instead for your weekly spin class or weekend run. But perhaps your workout is your walk around the block. Maybe it doesn’t have to be as intense as it once was or as it still may be to your friend on Instagram.
I found challenging workouts during volunteer opportunities that I never would have expected. I never thought about walking in my neighborhood as more than a means to get from point A to point B. Now, I spend hours each week stretching my muscles and logging miles while walking and exploring.
Working out will always look different to us all. But constantly rethinking and reevaluating what you value in a workout — physical stress, muscle gain, mental endurance — can help you redefine workouts and thus find them in new places. And trust me, once you do that, you just may be surprised at how easy it is to listen to your body and give it the workout it needs that day.