Exercise Posse

By now, everyone seems to have heard the message about how important exercise is for our mental and physical well-being. But knowing it and doing it are two different things. One of the best ways I’ve found to maintain a fitness routine is to find a type of exercise I enjoy doing and then get some friends to participate along with me.

A few years before the Covid-19 pandemic, a friend recommended that I try the classes at the Pure Barre studio that had just opened right near my house. Barre was a new style of exercise for me, and although it took some getting used to, I could see the benefit of it right away. As a former gymnast, barre made sense to me and appealed to my interest in form, strength and flexibility. Not only did I enjoy the classes, everyone in the studio was nice, so I made some new friends, and looked forward to my workouts.

At the end of the day, if I can say I had fun, it was a good day.

Simone Biles

After a few years of attending barre classes several times a week, I had not only improved my strength and flexibility, I had also settled into a great routine with some new close friends. We would linger in the parking lot after our workouts, discussing class or whatever else was going on in our lives. We also found ourselves hanging out together more often outside of the studio, going to restaurants or concerts and sometimes even dragging our husbands along with us.

But then in 2020, the pandemic shuttered the studio like everything else. I tried a few online classes, but they were not as much fun or as challenging as the in-person classes. Worse than that though, a few of my barre BFFs ended up moving out of state for one reason or another. We’re trying to stay in touch, but I miss the workouts with my friends and I am finding myself ready to try something new. I’ve been filling in with Peloton workouts and long walks, but I have not yet found my new regular go-to routine.

If you’re like me and you enjoy connecting with people while you’re working out, I have found a few resources to help us find a new workout posse:

  1. Contact your local Parks and Rec Department to see what classes they might be offering. These classes are usually affordable and require very little in the way of purchasing equipment. Some of the Boot Camp and Yoga classes in my area stay full with the same groups of people committing every time and they have bonded as workout friends through the years.
  2. Find a local running group through the Road Runners of America. Chances are someone else there will be just your speed, and the miles go by faster if you have someone to chat with along the way. If you need additional motivation, consider running to support a charitable organization. There are 5 and 10k runs and walks nearly every weekend supporting worthy organizations, like the Walk to End Alzheimer’s offering events in most cities.
  3. Set a regular walking date and route and invite friends to meet you there. This is another enjoyable and low-cost way to exercise and log miles. Julia wrote about her friend Dean’s commitment to walking meet-ups as a way to reconnect with others during the pandemic, and the information is still as valid now as it was then. You could even use Google maps to plot a two-three mile loop in your town and let others know when you’ll be there, rain or shine.
  4. Tune up your bike and look for local cycling meet-ups. As the weather improves, cycling can be an easy way to log a workout. Julia often swaps her bike for her car when running errands or getting to the train for her commute to the city. If you have a few friends interested in riding but need ideas for suitable rides, the Adventure Cycling Assocation offers helpful resources and an inspiring mission. Another great resource is Rails to Trails Conservancy, an organization that is “building a nation connected by trails.” These multi-use trails made of repurposed rail lines can be great for cycling, running or walking.
  5. Join a gym, yoga studio or other workout place. Now that social distancing is a thing of the past, it may be workwhile to discover a new workout and fitness community at a local workout studio. Julia and I both enjoy yoga, and have friends who swear by workouts at places like Orangetheory and 9round.

I don’t know what my new workout routine is going to be, but whatever it is, I know it will need to be something I enjoy so that I will continue to do it regularly. And if I make some friends along the way, all the better.

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