Lockdown life

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking of writing a blog post and I’ve finally got around to it.

This post is likely to outlive my memory of the unprecedented times in which we’re currently living, not only in the UK, but across the World.

At least 15000 people in the UK have died due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). This number only includes deaths recorded in hospitals where the patient was treated for the virus. The actual death rate is likely to be significantly higher due to unfortunate deaths in the community (care homes and other care settings or at home).

For the last 3 and a half weeks, the UK has been under lockdown where were only allowed to go out for one of four reasons:

– to buy food

– for ac medical reason

– for exercise

– for essential work where that work can’t be done at home

To reduce the opportunities for the virus to spread, those most susceptible to the virus (the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) have to self isolate for several months. The rest of the population have to socially distance themselves by keeping at least 2m away from people they don’t live with. If a household has one or more members with symptoms (continuous cold and/or fever), the house has to self isolate for 1 to 2 weeks.

The boys have not been to school for about a month and instead have been homeschooled with teachers sending with home to them. This is likely to last for most of the remaining school year. Those due to be completing their GCSEs or A levels have finished their education for the academic year and will have this grades assessed based on mocks, coursework etc.

The trainee Guide Dog we are boarding, Zeus, isn’t being trained and is living with us full time for the foreseeable future.

I’ve been working from home for 4 or 5 weeks but Denise, whose job is classed as ‘essential work’ and not something she is able to do from home is going into work everyday.

It’s definitely a challenging time. The economy is nosediving as many companies and those that are self employed are unable to do business as normal. The Government are trying to minimise the economic damage and enable the country to’ bounce back’ by allowing employees to be furloughed, offering grants and other financial support to keep companies from failing, and employees from having to lose their jobs.

From a personal perspective, I’m one of the lucky minority. My job means I can work from home and there’s plenty of work for me to do. I’ve worked from home for 15 of the last 20 years. Longer in fact. The boys are seeing few differences from everyday life aside from not going to school. Their lives are fairly virtual anyway often communicating with friends virtually rather than face-to-face.

Each day, they go out Dog Walking with Denise to get them out of the house and enjoy some fresh air. We’ve been very lucky with the weather with some lovely sunny days for most of the last month.

In terms of my physical activity, I’m trying to either run or cycle 5 or 6 times a week. Most of the runs are quite short and typically only 20-25 minutes long but enough to burn a few hundred calories. It’s my opportunity for some headspace. To blow cobwebs away.

As is normally be delivering weekly Strength and Conditioning sessions to fellow Lordshillers, these have had to stop. England Athletics has said that clubs mustn’t hold face to face training sessions until at least the end of May so for the first couple of weeks of lockdown, I was only sharing S&C session plans with the Facebook group of about 230 three times a week on a Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. These are in addition to the daily S&C challenges I’ve been providing for the last 9 months or so.

During the period of lockdown, I’ve been looking at the opportunities for offering virtual S&C sessions and broached the subject to the Facebook group. The suggestion was well received so I delivered my first virtual session on Tuesday 7th April via zoom to 40 participants.

The session wasn’t perfect (in my view at least) but was very well received. I made some improvements for the 2nd session including using an additional video camera and was much more pleased with how that went. The 2nd session had 45 participants which is almost an attendance record for the group.

My cycle rides tend to be 45-60 minutes and I stay local. The weather has certainly been cycle-friendly super from the gusty winds.

In addition, I’m trying to do dumbbell exercises most days. These tend to be hammer curls, shoulder presses and chest flues.

Finally, on the subject of physical activity, I’ve been using my eldest son’s VR headset to do an (almost) daily boxercise style session using a ‘game’ called BoxVR. The sessions tend to be 20-45 minutes long and are very good. I can certainly work up a sweat.

So far lockdown hasn’t been too much of a hardship for me. I’m not expecting restrictions to be lasted for a couple more months and I’m sure the UK post-pandemic will have many more challenges to overcome.

I’m hoping that our country’s population will have used the time of restriction to be more caring, appreciative of those that provide key services during the lockdown, those that saved so many lives, provides vital services. I hope also that the population will take Covid-19 and the fact that the virus impacted those with underlying health conditions as an impetus to everyone to focus on their own health and reduce alcohol consumption, eat more healthily, stop smoking, get active. These actions not only reduce the likelihood of health conditions but in the longer term will reduce the burden on our healthcare systems. Everyone can play a part to do that.

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