During this pandemic, I've found that most people I know tend to fall into one of two buckets. Either they're going hardcore with their workouts, setting new running records, posting ab pics on Instagram– or going hardcore gaining the COVID 15, and moving happy hour up to noon.

Since March, I've found myself on both ends of the spectrum while leaning towards the wine and snacks crew. I suppose it's just a function of human nature and our natural responses to stress and uncertainty. However, I find myself happiest somewhere in the middle, with a workout routine I know I'll stick to, and some time for an occasional happy hour with my husband.

In pre-pandemic life (omg I miss you), I spent 5-6 mornings a week at the gym. I had just started a new program, teaching myself to lift weights. While I didn't always know exactly what I was doing, my hour in the gym was therapy. It was the one time during the day that I felt fully immersed in what I was doing, and it became meditative.

But alas, Corona, the evil B that has changed so many things we used to love and cherish, has disrupted nearly all of my routines.

Woman in plank position

Since then, I've tried home workouts from every fit-fluencer and YouTuber on the internet. I've done HIIT workouts, EMOMs, and yoga. I've purchased dumbbells, resistance cords, kettlebells, benches, and more. I've actually found some programs and online communities that I really do love. (This program is fantastic, never gets boring and so affordable, 10/10 recommend). However, I've also found myself letting days go by where my motivation to trek downstairs to my basement "gym" is next to none. And when that happens, I go for a walk.

I started walking every morning when I woke up, whether I worked out in my "gym" or not. At first, I'd just make a 20-minute loop around the neighborhood, but I've found myself now going for an hour or longer. It's my time to sort through my feelings (I've had plenty the past 4 months), prepare for my day, and listen to a podcast or audiobook. I feel refreshed and energized when I get home and ready to start my work-from-home-while-watching-little-kids-by-myself INSANE day.

Morning walks have become a ritual for me, and quite possibly my favorite by-product of COVID-19. If there is one thing I would convince someone to do for their physical and mental health, it would be to take a walk outside.

Woman drinking water on her early morning walk

According to The American Heart Association, walking actually is one of the best exercises out there. Just 30 minutes a day delivers multiple benefits including– reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, improving blood pressure and sugar levels, maintaining body weight, and many more. At a time when a healthy immune system is so vital, there really is no downside.

Studies also show that walking can not only reduce anxiety, depression, and a negative mood but can also boost self-esteem. Who doesn't want a shot of self-esteem every morning??

And maybe you're reading this and thinking, aww that's sweet but I need an actual workout. I hear ya. There's nothing better than that so sore I can't sit down feeling (is that just me?), but while you're searching for your next body transformation program, or maybe at the end of a workout, try taking a walk too. According to medical experts, walking has the lowest dropout rate of any other exercise because, for most of us, it's just so easy to do.

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