Welcome. In her latest “Phys Ed” column, Gretchen Reynolds wrote of exercise habits during the pandemic. She looked at several recent studies and concluded that our exercise patterns have indeed been disrupted, but precisely how differs from one study to the next — some show us moving more, some less. The results of a new study out of the United Kingdom showed that most of us have been less physically active in quarantine, and a large percentage of those who’ve been exercising as much or more than before are older than 65. (The findings have not yet been peer reviewed.)

My own unscientific study of my activity levels evidences a marked lack of incidental exercise (no commute, no appointments during lunch, no dinners out or other engagements requiring negotiation of multiple flights of subway stairs). I’ve become aware of the way my hips begin to ache after a couple hours of sitting, how stretching, once a chore performed to avoid injury before or after a jog, is now essential for staving off everyday soreness. Exercising has become not just a means of staying healthy, but a weak substitute for travel: I may not be able to leave town, but I can ride my bike to the pier and watch the sun set by the Statue of Liberty. I can walk down the hill to the produce stand, nodding at neighbors I encounter on the way down, noticing how everyone seems to have a new dog on the way back up.

It’s an extraordinary time to be the occupant of a human body, isn’t it? We’re considering the body’s limits, its strength and vulnerabilities, nearly all the time. We’re measuring the distance between our bodies and others’, acclimating to breathing through layers of paper or cloth. The necessity of physically being somewhere — whether at work, school, the bookstore, the bar — has been eliminated in favor of virtual congress.

“So where is there but the body to live?” asks Bin Ramke in his poem “Something to Say.” I think about this line a lot. Many of us are occupied lately with protecting our bodies, with protecting and nurturing the bodies of those we love. We’re sorting out how we negotiate the space around us safely. Focusing on how many steps we take or pounds we lift is one way of staying aware of and comfortable in the physical world. It’s one way of residing in a body, of spreading out, of making ourselves at home.

How has your physical activity changed during the pandemic? Are you moving less? More? How has your exercise regimen been adapted? What have you noticed? Write to us: athome@nytimes.com and include your name, age and hometown. We’re At Home. We’ll read every letter sent. As always, more suggestions for leading a full life at home or near it appear below. See you on Friday.


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Credit…Pablo Rochat
  • Most shoppers are now able to routinely find household items like paper towels, pasta and beans that were in short supply early in the pandemic, but Clorox Wipes are still scarce. Increased demand for wipes has hit Clorox’s supply chain hard. “Finding a canister feels akin to winning the lottery or finding a pot of gold,” wrote Julie Creswell in an article about the shortage.

  • If you got an automatic extension for your 2019 income tax return, the deadline to file is Oct. 15. And Nov. 15 is now the deadline for low-income people who typically don’t file a tax return to claim their $1,200 stimulus payment.

  • And our science and health reporter Donald G. McNeil Jr. will help you tell the difference between Covid-19 symptoms and the flu.


Credit…Ryan Liebe for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.
  • Open the chef J. Kenji López-Alt’s fridge and you’ll find a good 40 percent of the space taken up with “culinary building blocks” that have a long shelf life, like sauces, condiments, stocks and pastes. When preparing a meal, he chooses from his building blocks and uses them to add flavor to the seared salmon filet or grilled chicken breast he’s prepared à la minute. Take a cue from him and other restaurant chefs and you’ll soon become a faster and more creative cook at home.

  • The chef Andrea Nguyen has had a lifelong fascination with mapo tofu, the spicy dish from the Sichuan Province of China. After researching it for decades, she started experimenting with “the slithery brow-wiper,” devising recipes for mapo tofu spaghetti and mapo tofu nachos.

  • And Melissa Clark is making an elegant swordfish dish with caramelized eggplant for dinner. Join her.


Credit…Ed Araquel/FOX
  • Check out a conversation with the “Mad Men” star John Slattery in which he discusses his new science-fiction drama series, “Next.” He plays a disgraced tech titan who believes the artificial intelligence system he invented has achieved self-awareness.

  • In need of a pick-me-up as the weather grows cooler and the days grow shorter? Try a visit to a pumpkin patch, strawberry field or apple orchard. And don’t forget your mask, of course.

  • And Janet Maslin says Tana French’s new novel, “The Searcher,” is “not to be missed.”


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