Existential Dread & Quarantine Fitness

This year has been… a lot. A lot of anxiety, a lot of fear, and a lot of death. We deal with it in our own way, by spending too much time on social media, binging escapist media, creating art, or taking to the streets. Exercise makes my brain happy, so I’ve been doing a lot of that.

Depending where you are reading this from, you may well be in a country that has contained the novel coronavirus and, as such, perhaps you are able to venture out to the gym or public spaces to workout safely. Here in the US, that’s not currently the case. Despite the fervent insistence of many of our politicians, it’s still wise to avoid contact with other humans whenever possible as the virus continues to spread. I’m fortunate to be able to work from home some days, both for my day job and for this blog, so I’ve developed a home routine.

At Home Fitness Classes

I’m a member of the YMCA and when gyms closed, my local Y started offering virtual classes, both through Zoom and via the Les Mill’s OnDemand app. I was able to both temporarily suspend my YMCA membership, and start taking classes at home. Les Mill’s is not normally free, but thanks to the Y, I got a 90-day trial. I love it so much that I’m likely to start paying when that ends. Lots of the classes don’t require equipment – I’m partial to Bodycombat and Bodyflow. I have in the past taken Bodypump, back in the pre-virus days at the Y. I like that class enough that, if I do ever get equipment, it will be the reason why.

If neither of these type of classes are available to you, definitely search YouTube. I’ve used it extensively for both HIIT workouts and yoga, though I don’t doubt there are plenty of other options, as well.

A television showing Les MIlls Bodycombat on the screen

Free subscription via the YMCA + Chromecast = home fitness class


Bodyweight Exercises

You don’t really need anything to workout aside from reasonable health and some motivation. Pushups suck, planks suck, do enough crunches, and they suck, too. In my experience, when a workout sucks, it’s because I need to do it more, so that’s not a bad thing. If you need some suggestions, there are tons online. If you are in the US, maybe look some up before hitting the streets. Bodyweight exercises are also called prison workouts for a reason, and if you find yourself in opposition to the law for defending the rights of people of color to exist without being murdered by law enforcement, you may need something to do in your cell.

Workout with Fitness Equipment at Home

You may or may not have much in the way of personal equipment and buying things is not always an option. I was able to find some bigger stuff for free on local Facebook groups. If you can’t do that or don’t have space, there are certain little things that are really cheap like hand weights or jump rope. Jump rope is the worst. By which I mean, it’s a great workout and I’m terrible at it, so I hate it. It’s also super affordable and all you need is a small open space and a willingness to publicly look like an exhausted, uncoordinated oaf.

ab wheel

I’ve gotten a lot of use out of this cheap thing.



Run in your neighborhood, run on trails, run on a treadmill, and in the US, run from your local police as they fire rubber bullets at you for daring to oppose the treatment of people of color at their hands. Regardless of your choice, there are plenty of apps available for free to help you track your run. However, depending on circumstances, you may want to forgo tracking and just get that cardio in. When I do use a tracker, I currently use Strava, but I’ve used MapMyRun or the unfortunately named Runtastic in the past. There are plenty of good options.

Oh, and consider wearing a mask when you run. Remember when people were doing that on purpose?

runner sitting on a dirt road

Ideally you’ll be on your feet

Whatever it is you decide to do to keep yourself sane and your anxiety at bay while dread of an increasingly uncertain future gnaws at your psyche, try to do it with the future in mind. In chaos, there is opportunity to forge a better future for us all.

Categories: CoronActivity, Fitness, Tips

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