Has COVID 19 changed the way we exercise for ever?

After arriving back from a very special holiday to India with our family in mid February 2020, our lives suddenly changed dramatically with the arrival of the COVID 19 pandemic to the UK.

In mid-March, a week before the government implemented lockdown, I had already decided to stop working at the gym in my personal training role, as well as putting my indoor classes on hold.

With my underlying heart condition and for the safety of my clients, I felt this was the right decision to make. I went straight into lockdown mode and vowed that I would not leave the house for at least 3 months, and keep my social distance from all family, friends and neighbours with immediate effect.

All of a sudden my way of life had been turned upside down, but of course I had to remember that I was not alone, as this was and still is a global pandemic of mass proportion. Life had become even more valuable but at the same time much more vulnerable with this invisible enemy.

So the barriers went up, social distancing was enforced, washing your hands and singing happy birthday to yourself for 20 seconds became a very peculiar and solemn routine. Touching an envelope or delivery from Amazon felt like you were handling a biological weapon, and the quarantine process became part of a new daily ritual. It all felt very surreal, and with the amazing weather that coincided with the start of lockdown, you felt that a divine intervention had taken place and this was actually part of mother nature and the universe combining to help to save our planet.

As soon as I made the decision to stop training indoors, I moved very quickly into the world of cloud based video conferencing, and found Zoom. I started up online personal training sessions with my regular clients and introduced fitness classes in the evenings around a similar time to the indoor ones, plus my regular Bootcamp on a Saturday morning. The uptake has been very good, and clients who were unsure about training online have now started to give the PT and fitness classes a try.

What is so brilliant about online training without doubt is how much more time it gives you to do other things, because you don't even have to leave your home.

Gone are the days of rushing back from work for a quick turnaround to get to the gym or class - driving, parking, hassle, hassle has all gone. Let's be honest, these days you are probably already sitting at your laptop in your trackie bottoms, you just click on the zoom invitation link and presto, exercise can commence. Not to mention the saving on gym memberships, car fuel, parking and the latest designer fitness gear. Frankly who cares what you are wearing, and what you look like? The most important thing is that you are there to exercise, to get fitter and stronger. If you prefer not to be seen you can make that decision, so you can grunt and groan as loud as you like, no one is judging you! In the quick breaks in between sets you can even feed the cat, or dead head a few roses if you are out in the garden.

So where is this all going? Will the gyms and community centres ever open again? The likely answer is yes, but with fears of a second wave, indoor exercising in the privacy and safety of your own home has its appeal. I appreciate that if your aim is to become the next "Arnie", gyms may well be the place for you. However, for the majority of us of a certain age, who's main goals are to improve and maintain general levels of fitness for health and wellbeing, home exercising may be the way forward.

You can literally start with no equipment at all, even just an old towel to lie on for floor work, then add in a yoga or exercise mat with a couple of dumbbells or even some filled plastic water bottles. Kettlebells are great but a bag filled with cat litter (not used) could work just as well.

You only need enough space to swing a cat - just realised that's my third cat reference (proud cat dad of three 'Maine Coons').

Many people are put off joining gym's or attending group classes due to lack of confidence, where as with online training you can pick and choose your level of interaction with the group.

Whilst many of you may have embraced the initial freedom provided by lockdown and have embarked on cycling and running regimes. These may have fallen by the wayside and it could be time to get back into the regular commitment of attending a class a couple of times a week, but in a much easier and accessible way than before.

As part of my commitment to helping you improve your fitness and wellbeing, I have introduced a complimentary mobility flow class for anyone who attends two other classes in one week.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday       6.00 pm         Online Fitness Class
Tuesday  7.30 am              Online Mobility Flow Class
Saturday 9.15 am start     Online Bootcamp Class

Looking forward to connecting with you, see you on ZOOM soon!