I learned something in those early days of the COVID era: Whenever I exercised, I gave myself a chance. From one point of view, it’s all biochemical. I know that. Exercise circulates blood to bodily tissue; it builds muscle; it lowers your risk of disease; it releases happy hormones like serotonin and norepinephrine; it helps you focus, hone skills, trust yourself, and sleep better.
But exercise was more than its best benefits for me this year. It became a constant, a necessity, a friend. On days when I didn’t find time for a run, a lift, or even some completely improvised 15-minute mat workout, I still had to show up to work, read headlines, and hold down relationships with people I loved, at a time that had abandoned all reason. I might as well sweat for a bit and make myself feel better during it all, I reasoned.