In August, we kicked off a resilience challenge to try to ignite some new habits to help build resilience and stay positive during this COVID-19 pandemic. I found myself in somewhat of a funk and needed to focus on my mental health as well as my physical health. After finishing 10 days, I absolutely felt my mood lift, but recognize that this COVID-19 crisis as a marathon and not a sprint. So, what started out as a 10-day challenge to build resilience with Excy bike exercises, will now become a 30-day challenge.
Bike Exercises with Excy to Build Resilience Over 30 Days
Of course, we’re not going to build resilience for a lifetime over 30-days, but how we respond to this COVID-19 crisis will stick with us for years to come. I think exercise, a positive mindset, and focusing on resilience will help alleviate some of the burden. All our challenges are posted on our Facebook channel, YouTube Channel, and at www.excy.live. You can also explore more bike exercises at www.excy.rehab or in our mobile coaching application.
We’re in this together and welcome suggestions! My goal is to not only support my own resilience, but show you that exercising on this bike that takes you nowhere physically, can take you somewhere special with your health.–Michele Mehl
Day 1 Resilience Theme: Patience and Kindness for Yourself
Dare of the day: Squash a negative thought about your body and instead find one aspect of your body that you are thankful for.
Position: Bike Lying Down
Journal: Like most women in mid-life, I struggle with weight around my middle. Instead of putting myself down for it, I’m thankful that it’s protecting my bones. It’s also a little more prevalent due to my C-section scar. I’m thankful for that scar more than anything else in my entire life because it made me a mom!
Day 2 Resilience Theme: Focus on Kindness Towards Others
Dare of the Day: Do at least one UNEXPECTED gesture as an act of kindness for someone you love or care about.
Position: Arm Bike from a Seated Position
Journal: Wrote an email for an upcoming senior in high school to help him make a connection to accomplish his goal.
Day 3 Resilience Theme: Self-Care is Not Selfish
Dare of the Day: Do one DELIBERATE thing today to care for yourself with zero guilt.
Position: Recumbent Chair Cycling
Journal: Purchased a new bra and underwear. While this seems so small, it’s something I have been putting off for far too long. TMI, but trying to share my journey.
Day 4 Resilience Theme: Cultivate Positive Social Connections
Dare of the Day: Thoughtfully connect with someone in a meaningful and positive way!
Position: Standing Upper Body Ergometer Workout
Journal: Got together with a dear friend and her family at a beach with our kids and went paddle boarding (we kept our distance). I’ve struggled with not seeing friends and even miss professional networking events. I needed that connection.
Day 5 Resilience Theme: Connect with Nature
Dare of the Day: Pick a place outside and allocate five minutes to absorb nature (try using all your senses).
Position: Chair cycling
Journal: I try to connect with nature every day, but this time it was about really slowing down and feeling the wind, seeing the leaves blow, eating the fresh blackberries on a daily walk I have been taking. I brought my husband into this challenge as well. He nearly fell asleep on our deck.
Day 6 Resilience Theme: Avoid Being Rude in Favor of Being Pleasant
Dare of the Day: Practice self-control by being considerate to someone you disagree with.
Journal: I think this is something we struggle with as a society right now. A Facebook “friend” of mine, responded rudely to another Facebook “friend.” I responded by being pleasant vs. being rude and throwing more fuel on the fire.
Day 7 Resilience Theme: Perseverance
Dare of the Day: Identify and Do Something Difficult (especially if you have failed at it before)
Position: Unicycle and Step Cycle
Journal: I struggle to achieve balance in not getting too much screen time, especially during COVID when it’s easy to become obsessed with the news. Today, I set timers on my iPhone to remind me when I’ve gone over. I’m trying really hard to model a healthy relationship with technology in front of my son. This is a work in progress.
Day 8 Resilience Theme: Add Margin to Your Schedule
Dare of the Day: Consider what “good or bad” things to say “no” to in order to prioritize saying “yes” to the “best things.”
Position: Squat-N-Hand Cycle
Journal: My son recently got his driver’s permit. Allowing him to drive on the freeway is the ultimate practice of letting go. So often, it’s easier for me to drive and get to a destination faster, but I’m committed to him becoming a competent driver. I’m working on building time into the schedule to allow him to drive without being rushed. I declined a meeting today to make this possible.
Day 9 Resilience Theme: Assume Good Intentions
Dare of the Day: When you feel criticized, assume that person is genuine, good, and means well before responding.
Position: Balance-N-Cycle on an Exercise Ball
Journal: We had a 2.5 hour drive and I tried to assume good intentions by people who drive really slow. Wow, that was a hard one! Washingtonians like to drive the speed limit in every single lane (even below the speed limit in the slow lane). This California girl struggles with that (especially when people drive next to each other going the same speed limit). Assuming they had good intentions helped alleviate the stress (a little and I didn’t get a ticket, so all is well).
Day 10 Resilience Theme: Incremental Change is Transformational Over Time
Dare of the Day: Identify one new “small” healthy habit you are willing and able to do 5x per week!
Position: Cycling in Bed or on Therapy Table
Journal: For the last 15 years or so, I’ve tried to keep a routine of doing 20 push-ups every night before bed. I have fallen off this routine since COVID, but got back into the groove today. I notice that I sleep better and find that I feel and look stronger by doing push-ups every day. In addition to the push-ups, I’m going to work up to a 2 minute plank every night.
Day 11 Resilience Theme: Crying is Good for You. Cry IT Out!
Dare of the Day: Let the tears flow to show empathy, compassion, and to relieve stress and/or anger
Position: Cycling from a High Chair
Journal: We live near a nursing center and have become friends with an elderly woman who has walked through our neighborhood for years. I hadn’t seen her in a long time due to COVID-19. I saw her coming and grabbed my mask, washed my hands, and ran outside to say hello from a distance. Being so far away made it hard to talk and she looked frail, pale, and just down from the impact of COVID-19. It broke my heart, and instead of fighting back tears when I returned home, I let them flow a little, not just for her, but the overall impact of COVID-19 on our elderly.
Day 12 Resilience Theme: Comparison (jealously) is the Thief of Joy,” –Theodore Roosevelt
Dare of the Day: Celebrate other people’s achievements all day today!
Position: Arm Ergometer Squat Workout
Journal: Today, I went out of my way to celebrate people’s wins that they shared on Facebook. That meant, not just “liking” their stuff, but commenting. Also, during phone conversations today, I focused on asking people about their wins and responded in a positive way.
Day 13 Resilience Theme: Hopefulness
Dare of the Day: Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.
Journal: There’s no secret that the fear of failure stalks the mind of entrepreneurs, but getting caught up in that fear can inhibit progress. Today, I took a moment to visualize exactly where I want to take this business, who I care most about helping, and focused on accomplishing goals. A small amount of fear, if handled well, can be a great motivator.
Tune in during the week in September at 6:00 a.m.
Day 14 Resilience Theme: Listening
Dare of the Day: Seek to understand before you seek to be understood
Journal: I focused on listening to my teenage son to understand his point of view before sharing my own experience.
Day 15 Resilience Theme: Laughter
Dare of the Day: Simply do something or watch something silly just for the fun of it
Position: Rowing exercise
Journal: As a family, we watched The Three Stooges, which had all of us laughing together.
Day 16 Resilience Theme: Hug IT Out
Dare of the Day: Get and give warm big hugs
Journal: When my son and husband woke up this morning, I focused with specific intention on getting and giving them both hugs. I think cuddled on both dogs!
Day 17 Resilience Theme: Pay IT Forward
Dare of the Day: Perform a good deed without asking or expecting anything in return
Position: Plank cycling workout
Journal: I purchased a coffee for the person in the car behind me and gave them wave outside my car window.
Day 18 Resilience Theme: Prayer and/or Meditation
Dare of the Day: Engage in a spiritual practice like prayer and/or meditation with a focus on restoring hope
Journal: I prayed for those most impacted by 9/11, horrible fires up and down the West coast, and COVID, as well as our country that we get through all of this with a sense of hope.
Day 19 Resilience Theme: It’s Okay to Not Be Okay
Dare of the Day: Honor and accept your emotions with a sense of curiosity and without judgement
Journal: Dove into some emotions of fear of failure in balancing work and home during COVID times. But overall, leaning into it because I feel like we’ve already won with who we get to help with Excy and I’m better mom and wife than I am an entrepreneur. So, win/win.
Day 20 Resilience Theme: Sleep is Critical
Dare of the Day: Take one small action to enhance your sleep health.
Journal: I should have done today’s theme on the first day! I woke up this morning on my own with no alarm at 4:55 a.m. (went to bed at 9:30 p.m.). Was fully refreshed and ready to kick some butt all day long. It’s amazing what a good night’s rest does for overall health! Over the years, I’ve had to do things like eliminate wine/alcohol during the week, do push-ups before bed, take three deep breaths when I can’t sleep, decrease screen time, stop drinking caffeine after 11:00 a.m., and more (sleep is super important to me). But, the idea of today’s dare is to not try and boil the ocean, but to try one small thing to prioritize sleep!
Day 21 Resilience Theme: The Power of Pets
Dare of the Day: Pause and take notice of the joy that pets bring into our lives
Journal: We have horrible unhealthy air conditions up and down the West coast due to fires. Not only is this preventing me from getting outside, but also my dogs. But, they still look at me with loving eyes, wag their tails, absorb and give love, and are just happy to spend time together. Today, I walked our dogs around the island in our house to get their heart rate up a little and then cuddled on them while acknowleding just how much love and joy they bring into our lives.
Day 22 Resilience Theme: Move It or Lose It
Dare of the Day: Find anyway possible to become less sedentary
Position: Recumbent couch cycling
Journal: We created Excy for this exact purpose! To turn ordinary sedentary time at our desk, on our couches, in our RVs, on the sidelines of kid’s sports, and more into opportunities to exercise and move more. We even did an entire “Anti-Sedentary Challenge.” But, I think COVID has us sitting even more these days watching Netflix, at our desks, during ZOOM calls, etc. Today, is all about finding opportunities to move more. That includes Excy, dancing, shifting balance between legs at a standup desk, and moving during conference calls and more.
Day 23 Resilience Theme: Treat Yourself Kindly
Dare of the Day: Make a small purchase just for you
Journal: I’m a pretty thrifty person when it comes to buying things for myself. I tend to buy quality practical items and make them last as long as possible. I also tend to invest in experiences rather than things. For today’s dare, I bought myself flowers. I was in Costco and smelled the fresh cut lily (my favorite) flowers as I walked by and decided to treat myself. Of course buying things isn’t a path to happiness or resilience, but sometimes there is real value in some kinds of material purchases. With my house smelling like smoke from the fires up and down the West coast, unable to take deep clean breaths of fresh air, having fresh flowers fill the air made me happy today. Side benefit, my husband and son noticed as well. Win/win.
Day 24 Resilience Theme: Forgiveness
Dare of the Day: Explore the pros and cons of letting go of pain caused by someone else (let go if you can)
Position: The Excy pretzel move
Journal: For some, today’s challenge will be harder than it might be for others. It likely depends on the just how much pain, hurt, and resentment has built up. I tend to be a pretty forgiving person and I think being in midlife helps (you realize life is short and time passes quickly). But obviously items come up (big and small). This week my husband and I will celebrate 22 years of marriage. I went to bed mad at him last night (we aren’t a couple that follows the rule of “never go to bed mad”). So this morning, I decided that the issue just wasn’t worth being mad over and let go it.
Day 25 Resilience Theme: Dance to Feel Good
Dare of the Day: Dance to one full song
Position: Glute bridge cycling
Journal: I did this twice today! First, I played INXS (80’s girl) on Alexa while making my son’s lunch before school. Then, for the second time while working at my desk listening to Pandora and Tom Petty’s “Breakdown” came on. Music is powerful. Music with dancing is just a major mood lifter!
Day 26 Resilience Theme: Positive Altruism
Dare of the Day: Seek to understand and help or support someone from a place of empathy vs. sympathy
Journal: We are working hard on a new version of Excy that we hope will help people with Cerebral Palsy gain greater access to exercise. Today’s theme came from working directly with someone with CP who we hope is a future customer because we used empathy to help. Here is her suggestion, “Altruism is characterized by selflessness and concern for the well being of others. Those who possess this quality typically put others first and truly care about the people around them, whether they have a personal tie to them or not. Just a thought because with the virus, fires, hurricanes and earthquakes, we as a human race need to be supportive of each other’s physical and emotional well-being more than ever before.”
Day 27 Resilience Theme: Positive Relationships
Dare of the Day: Nurture an existing positive relationship today vs. focusing on a negative one
Journal: Going to call my mom and dad today. They just moved and are in their 70s. Going to check in!
Day 28 Resilience Theme: Movement is Medicine
Dare of the Day: Focus on moving your joints. Motion is lotion!
Position: Chair cycling
Journal: Paid close attention to getting my ankle moving, which tends to lock up and hurt from an old leg injury. Also, made sure to get my dogs out, because they need to move their joints too!
Day 29 Resilience Theme: Choose Love
Dare of the Day: Express love today in your actions and your words to at least 5 people
Journal: I sent text messages to my family immediately following today’s workout (before many were awake). My son called and asked where I was (I guess I typically send these messages when I’m away). Honestly, he woke up in a much better teenage mood! I also got nice messages of love in return.
Day 30 Resilience Theme: Exercise is Medicine
Dare of the Day: Fill in the blank…Healthy is…(____). Find your why, identify your inspiration, be mindful of what you are willing and able to do, commit to a weekly goal.
Journal: I wrapped up this challenge with a focus on my core belief that exercise is medicine for the heart, the mind, and body. I do not believe in a one-size fits all approach to fitness. My approach of snacking on exercise might not be for everyone, but it works for me.
When I fill in the blank, these are my answers.
Always create momentum to be the possible version of myself
My why: Being an active mom, being able to walk without pain, avoid a genetic pathway of heart disease, get a better night’s sleep, and self-confidence
My inspiration: My son, my desire to be active until my last days on this Earth
What am I willing and able to do: Exercise while watching TV, HIIT, pedal Excy consistently at a vigorous or moderate pace. Avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
My weekly goal: 5 to 6 workouts a week for 20 minutes (I like to get my heart rate to 145-160 at least once three times a week).
Keep this list handy to revisit the Resilience Dare as needed. Do them with friends and family for added support! We all have to be in this together.