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Lockdown: Staying Active
19 February 2021
In these times of ‘endless’ lockdowns and separation from friends and family, it’s become increasingly important to maintain a positive mental outlook.
starting the journey
One way I personally do this, is by getting up and exercising regularly. For those who know me, you know I’ve always been keen on exercise and physical challenges, whether that’s playing rugby, participating in triathlons from shorter events right up to Ironman triathlons, white collar boxing matches, and also long distance cycle sportives – these activities have all become a main feature of my life at various times. However, now events and organised grassroots sports have shut down for the foreseeable future, I’ve had to dig deeper to find that extra motivation to get out and exercise, when it would be easier to sit in the garden (when the weather was warm enough to!), binge-watching another Netflix series or just cracking open a beer and watching another game of football or rugby on TV.
ACCOUNTABILITY AND MANAGEABLE TARGETs
The motivation to move’s key to getting active, and I believe we’ve all found that hard to come by recently, especially when we haven’t had that race or game to train for, or the beach holiday we’d planned to ‘get in shape’ for. I’ve found maintaining a routine and setting a target for myself at the start of each week incredibly useful. Your goal could take several forms, for example; a certain number of training sessions or miles covered or minutes of exercise can help create the little bit of accountability that some may need, in order to push themselves out the door for a run or into the garage to do some strength training. We normally find accountability in our team environments, where you don’t want to let colleagues or team mates down.
In individual events such as boxing, the accountability comes from doing the work and conditioning to make sure you do yourself justice and minimise the risk of the fight ending early against your wishes. At the moment however, we haven’t got this in our lives, so it has to come from ourselves. By setting manageable targets at the start of each week, and trying to adhere to them is a strong start.
For me, I stick my ‘training plan’ for the week on the fridge, so when I go in there looking for food, I know I’ve either earnt it, or actually rather than grabbing another Peperami, I should go for the run I told myself to do! Also, others in the house will see your plan, and it may positively impact them and encourage them to think about becoming more active – they may even take great joy in giving a ‘not so subtle kick’ if its 7pm and you still haven’t ticked off that day’s training…
‘CHEEKY’ REWARDS AND FAIRNESS
I’ve found that staying active as much as I have through each lockdown’s helped to keep me focused when I’ve been working, and also allows me to happily have a ‘cheeky’ takeaway or ‘cheat meal’ at the end of the week, as a bit of a reward for sticking to my plan. Obviously, sometimes things change and you can’t get the sessions in due to work or family commitments, and that’s fine! It’s important to remember we exercise for enjoyment and demonizing ourselves for a missed run or similar, will turn us off exercise quicker than the pain of the run or weights session itself.