This week I have received lots of questions from readers of my blog asking how I keep up my exercise regime during the lockdown. Not only is exercise very important to me, it also helps to alleviate the pain of my autoimmune disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis. I also believe that if I do suffer with Coronavirus I want to be as healthy as possibly to fight it.
So, the answer is that I do five 40-minute workouts per week in our “homemade” gym. There are some great fitness instructors online helping us to come up with innovative ways to use our own body weight in our workouts. Our home gym workout now extends to using everything around us, including our stairs, chairs and garden steps. In addition to these five workouts per week, we walk every day from home. We’ve found some beautiful circular walks in our local area and last week I averaged around 18,000 steps per day.
I’m sceptical about most things I read on-line these days. I don’t believe anything written in our newspapers as journalists put whatever spin on a subject to fit their political agenda. But if you stick to journals (like The New Scientist) and regulated bodies, their information will be more accurate. This is because they need to be peer reviewed. This means that other academics have read them before publication and checked that they are making claims that are backed up by their evidence.
For that reason, I have taken the advice from the Experts at the Centre for Perioperative Care (CPOC) who say that keeping healthy will help to reduce the risk of becoming severely ill with the virus. Fortunately, it seems that most people who get the virus tend to be ill for about a week before improving, however, that’s when the more dangerous symptoms kick in for others. It appears that the virus is able to migrate down into the depths of the respiratory track and when the virus reaches the lungs, pneumonia begins, and I want to be as strong as possible in case that happens.
In addition to keeping as healthy, I’m quite keen to keep up my beauty regime! I’m fairly low maintenance as I’m mostly a DIY girl. I’ve never visited beauty salons, I don’t have sunbed sessions or spray tans, I don’t have hair extensions or false lashes and I do my own eyebrows, nails and waxing; however, DIY is not something I do for my hair. I have always budgeted to visit the hairdressers every 6 weeks. I have no idea what my real hair colour is and I’m not too keen of finding out. So, I’ve bought myself a hair dye from Boots which will arrive around the 28th April, so I’ll reveal all after this necessary experiment has taken place! If you notice that my social media account has gone quiet, it will be apparent something has gone very badly wrong! Jamie has also offered to cut my hair and we’ll be watching some “YouTube” videos first!
Our virtual social life also picked up a bit this week. We had a great facetime call with our friends over a bottle of wine last Saturday night. We all got dressed up too as if we were going out and I enjoyed both the dressing up and the chat. Another friend organised a Zoom quiz (6 teams) which was good fun and so lovely to see everyone.
In Covid World, the other regular daily event that takes place is to watch the briefing from the Government. One of the journalists asked what we might have done differently as a country knowing what we know now, and it got me thinking about hindsight.
There is probably an event in our lives every week when, with the benefit of hindsight – the wisdom that comes from viewing actions after seeing the consequences – we think we shouldn’t have done that or should have done it this way instead.
But when it comes to life-changing situations like the Coronavirus pandemic is 20:20 vision after the event a fair way for official bodies to assess where fault lies? Will that process of re-examination go too far? Or is it the only way we learn lessons for the future?
I don’t have the answer and the question is too big to think about without breaking it down into manageable pieces. I guess we all reflect on the things we could have done differently. However, I also realise that if we spend too much of our life regretting our past, our biggest regret will be that we didn’t focus our time and energy changing the present and the unwritten future.
During my sales training I was taught that if you don’t have a plan you won’t achieve your dreams and it’s something I have always stuck by. So, spending time planning our present and our future seems like a much better idea to me.
Every goal and every dream must take the form of a plan. The old saying that you “get what you plan for” is so true. Your dream won’t just happen. You need to sit down, on a regular basis, and plan out your strategy for achieving the dream. Think through all of the details. Break the whole plan down into small, workable parts. Then set a time frame for accomplishing each task on your “dream plan.” These plans don’t need to be complex; wanting to live a healthy happy life with family and friends is a wonderful ambition. However, being fit and healthy takes a lot of hard work and it also means making big changes to daily life. I believe having a plan is even more important when you have an illness or an autoimmune disease as, often, the focus is always on the disease itself.
The plan is also iterative. Jamie and I had our remaining work years and our retirement plan worked out. When I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, I thought my retirement might look very different, especially if the disease progressed and my mobility was affected. Six years on from that diagnosis my situation is still OK, even though the disease is active.
That said, my plan was to start taking the biological drugs to slow down its progression. I suffered an allergic reaction to the drugs on the first attempt and, after waiting 2 years for a new biological, Coronavirus has intervened. I was due to start taking them a few weeks ago and I chose not to as I didn’t want to weaken my immune system, thereby changing our plan again.
Even when we have to make changes to our plan, its not the end of the world. Embracing change is no fun especially when you look forward to achieving those dreams. But often, something like Coronavirus comes along and it changes everything. Change happens to us all—it’s simply a part of life. And while some change is undeniably good, we’re often faced with disruptions that certainly don’t feel welcome at the time.
We are all capable of changing but often we are unwilling to acknowledge the need to do so. Among those who do, often we don’t do what is necessary to make it happen.
Keep safe, start on a plan to achieve your dreams and embrace change.
Captain Tom Moore is my new hero, until next time xxx