When the doors closed on the gym where I’m based (Phoenix Fitness in Kendal) I was devastated. In fact I sat at my desk, put my head in my hands and cried. Those people who know me would have been shocked. I’m normally a very private person and such a public display of emotion is very uncharacteristic.
The reason for this wasn’t self-pity or fear but rather seeing the sadness in the eyes of the other people. It made me realise the impact of the closure of the gym would have on everyone. Going to the gym is about more than getting fitter or stronger or thinner. It’s about more than the mental benefits of the endorphin release when you’ve done your 20 minutes of exercise that increases your heart rate.
It’s about the social side too. An escape from the stresses and strains of ordinary life. It’s about routine, accountability, it’s a safe place, somewhere to come and see friends, have a laugh and be able to be the real you.
That lack of accountability is a struggle for many. The reason why people attend classes and pay for gym memberships is because they need that motivation to get out of the house to train and how on earth can that be replicated at home?
A CHANGE OF MINDSET:
Firstly you need to sit down and think about the reasons WHY you exercise. Why did you go the gym or sign up for those classes or train for that marathon? Is it for aesthetic reasons? Physical or mental health reasons? Fun?
Once you have that reason, acknowledge that this is happening and the norm is now so different. Find that flame again, find something that you enjoy. There is so much out there online. Try and make full use of the hour (hopefully more soon) that we are allowed to be outside of our home. Think of the benefits that your new found way of exercising may bring you…
For example if you hate running, but you are doing it to get your cardio session in, look around you, look at the lambs, the blossom, the colour of the environment around you…. Try mindfulness…Just switch off from your thoughts and appreciate every sight, sound and smell around you. Feel the way your feet are planting into the floor, the breeze on your face (that fly in your eye) switch off… This is good practice for when the world becomes busy again. If you can switch off now, it will be of benefit in the future.
I have been doing online classes. Both as a coach and an athlete. Initially I was sceptical and if I’m honest, a bit nervous too. But I have fully embraced the new Zoom world and I anticipate it continuing post Covid-19. Meeting new people on a daily basis, being able to chat and share experiences with new people has been enlightening and humbling. Is Zoom the future? Will people realise that the monthly gym memberships, the daily slog of putting your trainers on and leaving the house is a thing of the past? Do I as a PT need to adapt my way of working?
Try and use this time to think about your priorities for exercise in the future. Were you obsessed with the gym? Obsessed with your “gains”? and have you now realised that CAN miss that session to spend some time with family and friends (once social distancing is a distant memory) Did you constantly have to run a certain distance in a certain time? But you’ve come to realise just getting out for that run is what is important to you and it doesn’t matter how hard you push yourself. If you have started a new exercise regime due to the “free time” you have gained, will you be able to continue this after the crisis is over? I am busy planning my exit strategies, how I can help maintain the focus of the newbies to exercise and maintain the same levels of physical activity once they return to work. Use this time to work out what is really important, what are your priorities? How will they be maintained? Seek help if you need some support/advice. And most importantly, remember them when we go back to “Normal” (whenever that may be)
ABOUT LYNSEY GOODYEAR
Sport and especially fitness has always been a passion of mine. From the first time I attended a "come and try day" at Kendal athletics club at the age of 8 I was hooked. My schooling and career path has been focused around sport and exercise. This has been passed onto my two boys (aged 9&12) who are both sport mad participating in football, cricket and gymnastics and athletics to a high level. A busy wife and mum I have always found time to train for whatever sport I am undertaking at that time and now I am ready to pass on my expertise to other adults.
You can find Lynsey and her limitless motivation at: