We here at Esquire are at home. Just like you, we’re not used to it. Our free time, when we’re not checking emails and updates and push alerts, stretches on and on. And so we’ve figured out a few ways to fill it that we can’t recommend enough. Here’s one.
Exercise is a huge part of my life. Not only does it keep me physically healthy, but it also keeps me sane. So you can understand why I would panic in a time when both health and sanity are more important and simultaneously harder to come by than ever.
I know, everyone is offering livestreams and instructional videos online so that we can work out alone in our homes. I tried a few, but the longest I lasted was about seven minutes before turning it off and turning the TV back on. Some say it’s okay to run outside, but that feels a little different in New York City, where I’m still coming into fairly close contact while navigating around people on the sidewalk.
After two days of roughly zero physical activity, it finally hit me.
Who needs a StairMaster when you have the inspiration for the StairMaster? It’s stairs, guys. Just stairs. Most of us can access them in some capacity that requires little to no exposure to the outside world. And while it may feel a little repetitive or old school, running stairs is actually an amazing way to exercise. Rocky did it. Who are we to question Rocky’s methods? It’s cardio and legs and ass all in one simple activity, and you don’t need to do it for long to feel the burn.
Honestly, it seems pretty hardcore to me, maybe because the halls in my walk-up apartment building aren’t exactly glamorous, which facilitates the fantasy that I’m an underdog training for the big fight. Less Rocky, more Mark Wahlberg in The Fighter. My fellow self-isolated neighbors hear me running by and swing open their doors, cheering me on, holding up rubber glove-encased hands for me to throw a few mock punches before continuing my climb.
In reality, the training montage in this movie would look more like a loop reel of me running up and down the empty stairwell, struggling to shout motivational words at myself while breathing more and more heavily. The big fight would have been postponed, and nobody would be cheering me on, because my building is full of NYU students who returned home amidst the chaos.
But despite the far less exciting actual scenario, running the stairs is really helping me. It forces me to put on suitable exercise clothes and sneakers and get my heart rate up. It allows me to escape looking at screens, however briefly, which I think many people are struggling to do right now. It’s a necessary reminder that I remain healthy and strong, which makes me want to continue my workout in other ways.
Do whatever works for you to keep your endorphins flowing, but if you’ve also found yourself becoming increasingly sedentary, I recommend the stairs if you can do so safely. You’re welcome to borrow my boxer-in-training fantasy.