Went to the gym. Took my dog.

The last time I exercised indoors was mid March. It was the final night the yoga studio I belong to was open. Until recently, that is. The atmosphere seemed more subdued than usual on that late afternoon, but I don’t believe anyone imagined not being able to step a bare foot in that space again for half a year.

During the months of closure, I took advantage of the studio’s online offerings, both live-streamed and recorded. It hasn’t been terrible at all. I like not having to drive my car and my deck was a really nice spot to practice during our long-feeling-for-a-change summer. Rolling out my mat and setting up the Zoom session took 60 seconds, instead of the 15 or 20 minutes necessary to get to a studio, park and land on my mat.

In addition to my home yoga practice, I started running a bit more regularly once I hit 6 months post-meniscus surgery. I’ve been taking it slowly, but enjoying a modified route where I can run with Jeter. Prior to August and my recovery, I did a lot of walking and also a bit of bike riding. Essentially, I got all of my exercise outdoors – and I loved it.

Towards the end of summer, with meticulous attention to recommendations and regulations, my studio reopened. In addition to a schedule of onsite classes, the studio continued with outdoor and virtual classes. I’m uncertain what attendance has been like since the reopening because I have yet to attend an indoor yoga class. I just don’t feel ready to share a practice in a heated studio with other yogis, wearing masks. 

I’ve read the rationalizations for once again exercising indoors and understand the desire of some people to return to their gym routine. I respect that other adults feel differently than I do about working out and are comfortable with precautions which have been put in place to provide a safe environment for indoor group exercise classes. But, even in non-Covid times I prefer my cardio to be taken outdoors rather than in a gym. It’s just a better experience, in my opinion, with no two runs or rides or walks ever the same and that variety is what keeps me coming back for more.

Another factor in my decision to remain outdoors for my workouts is the ability to fill my lungs with fresh air at will. I don’t typically wear a mask when I run, choosing routes where I don’t see many other people and opting to give a wide berth to those I do encounter. After a day spent at work wearing a mask consistently, I relish the chance to just breathe without the presence of three layers of fabric.

For now, I’m going to continue my home yoga practice, perhaps supplemented with outdoor classes when the weather cooperates, and taking runs with Jeter. Cross country ski season, after all, is just around the corner.

What about you? How are you getting your endorphin fix these days?

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