By Ava Kotsen (IV)

During quarantine, many used their time to learn a new skill, spend time with their families, binge watch Netflix shows, cook, play video games, take a class online, or catch up on reading. Across the country, millions of Americans also seized this opportunity to incorporate exercise into their daily routines. However, due to lockdown and social distancing guidelines, gyms were shut down for around six months. People had to improvise by building gyms at home. Dumbbells, kettlebells, weights, treadmills, Peloton bikes, gym machines, bars, and all sorts of fitness equipment were sold out across major retailers and back-ordered for months as Americans flocked to buy any gym equipment they could get their hands on. For those who did not have thousands of dollars to drop on crafting elaborate gyms, spending time outdoors was a free and refreshing alternative. 

Families went on daily strolls down the block or on bike rides through the neighborhood. These short jogs and walks helped people incorporate some structure into their lives and avoid the monotony of quarantined life. On YouTube and Instagram, free, at-home, no-equipment workout challenges from fitness influencers such as Chloe Ting, Pamela Reif, and Blogilates promised transformations such as “losing inches off your waist”, or “gaining abs in two weeks”. Those who participated were encouraged to post their progress on TikTok and Instagram as inspiration for others to follow and join.

Even though COVID-19 has entirely altered daily lives, the resilience that Americans have shown in their determination to stay fit is admirable. No matter the method of exercise, they can proudly say that they lived and survived to tell the tale of being in a global pandemic.