Dancing In Stairwells: Four Ways I’ve Changed my Exercise During Coronavirus

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

The walls are beige, and the steps are a darker beige. The handrails are maroon.. The air is hot and humid; my voice, when I use it, echoes off the walls. These are the sights and sounds of the stairwell where I climb stairs to get exercise.

The monotony of the surroundings in the stairwell force me to listen harder to the music blasting in my ears. Today, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” stopped me in my tracks. The symbolism was palpable. Like many of you, I’ve climbed many mountains in my 15-year journey with chronic leukemia and cystic fibrosis. Avoiding coronavirus is beginning to feel like the biggest mountain I might have to climb yet.

This feeling gets me

Gone are the days of going to the gym once a week for a rigorous workout to build muscle and increase endurance and lung capacity. I miss working out with other people who fuel my intensity. Since COVID, I've challenged myself to come up with new ways to enjoy exercise beyond the local gym.

Here are 4 Ways I’m Exercising During Coronavirus:

  1. Add weights to any workout when you can. Whether you walk or do situps or leg lifts, adding some weight will increase muscle tone and improve bone density. Weights never fail to get my heartrate up.

  2. Make exercise your social part of the day. Seeing people out and about lifts my mood. At home, videos are great, but it doesn’t get me out of the house. Since I don’t get out much, I use exercise as a means to see other people and not feel as isolated.

  3. Speaking of At Home Workout Videos... I have found at home videos a great addition to outdoor exercise to add muscle and stretch. Since I won’t be visiting a gym anytime soon, I’ve added videos to bolster my outdoor workout. Now I split my workout 50/50 - half outside and half inside to get a complete workout. Yes, it takes more time but I've got a lot of that on my hands.

  4. Exercise your lungs, not just your muscles. There’s been a lot of discussion about exercising your lungs before even getting COVID to keep them in optimal shape. Here is what we know Coronavirus does to the lungs: https://www.webmd.com/lung/what-does-covid-do-to-your-lungs#2 and here is what we can do to exercise the lungs before they even get infected: https://www.syracuse.com/coronavirus/2020/04/doctor-lung-exercises-can-help-prevent-severe-coronavirus-jk-rowling-swears-by-them.html I’ve been doing the exercises recommended and using a small device called Expand-A-Lung while working at my desk. Expand-A-Lung® is what’s called a inspiratory/expiratory breathing resistance trainer. It’s a small plastic device that’s considered a breakthrough product for improving endurance through better breathing and lung function. Research supports that this breathing exercise significantly improves the strength of respiratory muscles, and increases the volume of lung oxygen intake. The end result is deeper, easier and better breathing.

In what ways has your exercise changed over the last month?

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