IN JUNE LAST YEAR, we were still in lockdown. It had already lasted longer than anyone could have anticipated, and we did not know how much longer it would go.

I was writing a cover story for Pacific NW magazine about how we adapted our movement during the early stages of the pandemic to online classes, to working out in the backyard, to spending more time outside than ever before.

Brenda Gardner, left, is spotted by her wife and strength and flexibility coach, Mercedes Pollmeier, while in the climbing gym built in their South Park home. Gardner was happy to have a place to work out during the pandemic, but now is excited about getting to her regular climbing gym with more people. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)
The pandemic challenged us to find new ways to move. That’s a good thing. 

I didn’t know that, a year later, I would still be writing about this topic.

The one great constant this past year was never-ending change — gyms and studios opened with outdoor workouts, went indoors with masks, then closed, then opened again. Moving became an important way people socialized. Meeting friends for walks or hikes was the safest choice.

And yet, people adapted. They found ways to move at home. They tried new things, whether it was an online class, walking around their neighborhood, or riding the Peloton wave.


Some people didn’t adapt, overwhelmed by the stress.

The biggest challenge for this story was illustrating how the movers adapted, weighing the ways all of us will have to keep adapting, while also acknowledging that the past 15 months or so have been more sedentary for almost everyone.

And now, our great challenge is to figure out how exactly we want to keep moving, or start moving again. Do I want to return to the yoga studio, or am I good doing it online, or is it a combo of both? Will I drive in 30 to 45 minutes of traffic for a class I could take in my living room? Am I happy doing it alone, or do I miss people?

I wanted to tackle these questions and more in this week’s cover story, talking to people about the new choices they made, which ones will stick, and which ones they will leave behind.

I know for myself that movement was the one constant that helped me the most this past year. I committed to moving every day, no matter what, whether it was a walk or a class. Movement helped me stay steady, focused, healthy. If movement fell by the wayside this past year for you, I encourage you to look at the ways people adapted, get clear on what you are ready to do, and start again. We will all be doing it together.