"Exercising regularly is important for our mental and physical wellbeing, especially in the current climate."Instagram/leslie.lute

Content Note: This article contains a discussion of coronavirus and lockdown.

It's obvious that the coronavirus pandemic has led to a radical overhaul of our everyday social interactions. Once upon a time we wouldn’t have thought twice about casually brushing past a stranger. But now simply walking down the street is an act which involves extreme caution and care to avoid any unnecessary social contact. 

As an avid runner and college netballer, I’ve found it difficult to get to grips with the restrictions placed on outdoor exercise to prevent the spread of the virus, let alone the misery of not returning to Cambridge for Easter term. Luckily, in the UK we are permitted one form of daily outdoor exercise either alone or with family members, as long as we keep our distance from others. 

Whilst I’m grateful for this luxury, (banned in some of the other, worst affected countries) these days exercising outdoors has become complicated. Pre-pandemic, a run was my miracle cure for fatigue, stress and sadness. I revelled in the simplicity and independence of running - the ease with which you can spontaneously don your trainers with only your own body and stamina to rely on. But an experience that once calmed me now fills me with panic. 


Mountain View

Beyond the bullshit: finding calm in yoga

Each run that I have been on since lockdown involves a necessary continuous scanning of the area in front and behind me, ensuring that I keep the required distance from pedestrians. But even when I have veered far away from fellow park-users, dirty looks and comments about COVID-19 have often been flung in my direction. And although I’m sympathetic to their concerns, exercising regularly can be important for our mental and physical wellbeing, especially in the current climate. 

Needless to say, in light of these experiences, and my own desire to stay well, my run count has rapidly depleted and I’ve been keeping fit inside my house, meaning I’ve had to get a bit more creative to satiate my exercise cravings. I thought I’d share what I’ve been up to:

  • Joe Wicks 

Fitness coach, Joe Wicks (now a household name) started filming live YouTube workouts called ‘PE with Joe’ at 9am each day for  all abilities and ages. The workouts don’t require any weights or equipment and can easily be done in a small space. You can even involve your whole family, although I’ve only managed to enlist my sister so far. On sunny days, I’m lucky enough to be able to do them in my garden in my attempt to get some much-needed Vitamin D. Each day since lockdown began, I’ve tuned in at 9am and, as cheesy as it sounds, have found it very motivating to exercise simultaneously with people from around the globe. The workouts have also provided some structure to my day and put me in a better mood to start a full day of revision (yay, exams!) 

  • YouTube Yoga 

On those days when I feel a bit battered by ‘PE with Joe’ (don’t be fooled by the presence of ‘PE’ in the title), I like to follow a yoga tutorial from YouTube. I really like ‘Yoga with Adriene.’ My favourite posture at the moment is the ‘Child’s Pose’ which is sort of like the fetal position. It stretches your lower back muscles and helps promote stress relief, something I’m sure we could all use during lockdown. But I’m sad to report that even after a month of practice, I still can’t do the ‘Crow Pose’ properly!

  • Cleaning/tidying 

Found a particular way of keeping fit in lockdown?

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Wait! Before you swiftly click off this article, hear me out. Rigorous cleaning (something especially important at the moment) and tidying is also an easy and accessible way to exercise from the comfort of our homes. This has got me dusting and spraying even the darkest, dustiest corners of my home in an effort to keep moving. 

So whilst some of us have abandoned outdoor exercise for the moment, there are plenty of ways to keep fit safely and boost our wellbeing without vacating our homes. The list I’ve made here is certainly not exhaustive!