Staying Active During Pandemic Times

Staying Active During Pandemic Times

By Ellie Greenwood

I’m sure like many of you, my exercise routine took a hit when social distancing and lockdown measures came into force in mid-March. I was no longer able to go swimming (an activity I use for cross training to supplement my running) and my twice weekly gym sessions were put on hold. At first I was at a real loss of how to work around these restrictions and was concerned that my training would be compromised, but as with anything I learned to adjust and establish new patterns and ways of working.

When the pandemic first hit, I was suffering from a running injury so was limited in how much and how often I could run, but I found that walking was an excellent supplement to what running I could do. Walking is often under rated as a form of exercise but in the last four months I have found that it has allowed me to transition to much more running than before and has really helped build my base cardio. The bonus of walking is I’ve found new urban parks and scenic neighborhoods, some just a few miles from my home, that I previously didn’t know existed.

I have also built back to much more running in the past few months. As I said, I had been injured from January to March, so I knew I had to be careful not to do too much too soon. I built up from some 10-minute run/ walks in March and now can easily run 15 kms in one go, and have done some tough longer trail hikes with some jogging thrown in. So whether you’ve been on a break from running or never run before, build up slowly and gradually – taking rest days and keeping a track of how much you are doing each week to avoid jumping up too much from one week to the next. Part of the fun has been taking part in a virtual race where I aim to complete 1200 miles of running and walking in a period of four months. This has really helped me stay motivated when in person races are not taking place for now, and it has given me an extra layer of accountability. While that distance might be too much for you, do consider setting a stretch goal that will keep you getting out the door in these uncertain times.

For strength work I am lucky that our local gyms are now back open, but for a few months I signed up for some online classes and borrowed some basic weights from a friend. While I might not have had access to all the equipment and facilities that I typically use, I adapted and did the best I could. Even if I lost some strength, I lost less than had I done no strength work at all – which has made the transition back to the gym in the last month much smoother.

And of course with this adapted training regime, Flora has been there to help keep my nutrition on track. I am not sure that it is the norm, but I am actually more active now than when our local lockdown began almost five months ago! So to support this increased training load I have been sure to keep my diet on track – which we all know can be tough when we are stuck at home more. Beyond Greens in my morning smoothie, Udo’s Oil for salad dressing on my loaded daily salad, and herbal teas to keep me hydrated on the move – cold Holy Basil or Peppermint tea is a refreshing pick me up on a hot summers hike.