Staying Strong During Hard Times

Two women doing yoga on back deck
Woman doing backbend in home studio
Woman doing headstand on back deck

The pandemic, among other things, prompted a closure of most gyms across America. Though we weren't "gym rats" per se, my mom and I were always fond of working out with barbells, doing cardio on the elliptical, cycling, and using weight machines. Gym-time provided us a way to connect with each other and our own bodies after long days at work and school. Now, we had to come up with an alternative.

Fortunately, my mom and I were quick to adapt. We converted the spare bedroom/office into a workout space. All it consisted of, really, were two foam mats, a set of weights, and a stationary bike. It was glorious. Almost every morning-- mood and energy-permitting-- we would stretch, do a light yoga flow, and then follow along a series of YouTube workout videos. Some days, we worked our abs, legs, and did cardio. Some days, it was cardio straight-up: led by a spunky and radiant instructor, which we grew to love through the screen. Other days, it was a surprisingly challenging, no-equipment arm workout. All those arm swings made our shoulders sore but our hearts happy.

In many ways, working out at home was much better than our past gym-going habit. It was just my mom and I, in a cozy and safe space, bettering our bodies and minds through the practice. We've grown to prefer some virtual instructors over others and repeated their "tracks" so many times that we anticipated each motivational speech and each move long before it came.

Over time, working out with my mom was something I came to depend on. We all found stability and routine in different ways during the pandemic. This way was mine.

Today, we still continue this healthy habit. Our bodies are stronger than ever, but I think that's not what matters most. An at-home workout routine helped us stay emotionally rooted and mentally strong during this hard time.

This, I think, was its real benefit.