‘Covid-19 Lockdown’ and getting fit

1 Minute Blog May 30 2020

How strange this time has been for some of us… suspended in a bubble of waiting, anxiousness, trying to focus on what is in front of us; one day at a time. Easier said than done. I have been fortunate not to have been touched by the virus, yet (no foreboding music please). For us it was good timing; in our life; our health and our fitness; which all played their part. We have the luxury of good health, great medical care – Thank you NHS UK! and a little green space to sit in. It has also been the nicest, warmest spring in living memory and that is a big deal in the UK 🙂

When I was a teenager I was very sporty and athletic. I assumed that is was part of my nature, not something I had to work at. Over the next 30 years I gained a little weight, nothing much, just the freshman 5-10 and then a few more. I despised the gym, thought it was for muscle builders, didn’t like to get sweaty.

Fast forward to 2012-ish. I slowly watched my parents who were only in their early 70s, slowing get ill and lose their ability to get around. In part because of the lack of general fitness. It lead to health issues that could have been avoided for longer by doing small things like walking everyday for 20-30 minutes. I NEVER saw them exercise, ever. As their life ended I became very motivated to get fit again. Lucky for me I remembered what fitness was like, and how slim felt. I had a the muscle memory and remembered the mindset, that it was possible to re-train and more importantly to get strong. I saw how we tend to think, “I will do that in the future, when I have more time, energy, money…” And I saw the point comes when it was no longer possible for my parents. You need a minimal level of health to start.

It helped that my husband found a good gym nearby but it was so expensive. How could we justify it, well a lifetime of being able to walk and ward off heart disease and depression makes it a worthwhile investment. I see now it is something really caring he and I can do for each other. Training is something we usually do together and egg each other on when we don’t want to go out on dark winter nights. Eventually I craved the release. I don’t get the famous ‘runner high’ but I feel less horrible, ratty and relaxed and it took 3 years to get to a place that I sort of liked it. Cleaning up my diet has also helped but it isn’t been easy and I still eat ice cream and cheesecake now and then.

Back to Covid-19, I had never heard of ‘lockdown’ or thought it was even a thing. And certainly I did not expect it would play a part of my becoming more fit. I work in IT and am able to work from home. I am also a post graduate student at the Open University which is also full-on, in all the waking hours I am not working. The stress of this effort and the psychological impact of the world dying in the thousands (daily) pushed me out the door every night for a 5K walk. Fortunately by this time I was aware how much better I would feel, even if I’d rather flop on the couch with a big bag of potato chips.

Recently I had a job interview, (I know crazy right, not busy enough, I had to add that to my plate! …but it was for Falmouth University, on the Cornish sea coast! It’s a 20 year dream and I had to try)! My personal development coach, Gordon Roberts, recommended that in the morning before the interview I go for a really fast walk or jog to get oxygenated and de-stressed. Nerves fill our nervous system with the fight or flight hormone cortisol, and it make us fill sick and unable to concentrate. It was such good advice and set the scene for the best interview I ever had. I felt optimistic, able to think and the hour flew by. Working from home saves me 1.5 hours in commuting and provided time to workout in the morning. It am getting hooked on pre-work, 2K fast walk with sprints called HITs (High Intensity Training). The air is cool and fresh, the birds are singing and the neighbours smiling or are they smiling because I am?

Unfortunately I didn’t get the job but I will be ready for the next one!

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