The Pandemic is Waning, but My Workout Routine Is Still Stay-at-Home
Peloton is stumbling as its customers re-enter real world fitness. Well, I'm not ready.
Like many people, I started doing a lot of at-home fitness when the pandemic hit. My husband and I bought a Peloton bike a few weeks after lockdown started. But I especially use Peloton for yoga — 130 yoga workouts since May 2020, according to the app’s records.1
Even outside the context of a pandemic emergency, home yoga suits me for a few reasons.
One, I’m not good at yoga. My flexibility is mediocre and my balance is poor, which is part of why I need to do yoga, but I have always felt self-conscious flailing about in a 30-person class. Before the pandemic, I could not hold Warrior III pose at all. Now, with all that at-home practice, I can hold it for about five seconds before I fall over. This is the sort of progress I can only achieve in solitude.
Two, I’m not very zen when I do yoga. I don’t just flail; I grumble. If I’ve been put into a goddamn interminable high lunge, I like to be able to shout “This hold is too long, Denis!” without Denis Morton actually being able to hear me. Intermediation through a laptop screen is in everybody’s interest here.
Have you ever noticed that you get dumber when you exercise? Try having someone shout math problems at you while you sprint on a treadmill; you will find them challenging. Some cognitive psychologists hypothesize that this an example of transient hypofrontality: During vigorous exercise, the brain turns up its parts that are useful for coordination of motor tasks, and to save energy it turns down the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for executive function. You are literally (though very temporarily) giving up IQ points and judgment skills during the hardest parts of your workout in order to optimize your athletic performance.
This has led to some close calls for me in real-life group fitness classes.