Home Runs

Gym nuts lift flowerpots, quirky dads lie down to pedal recumbent bikes, Premier League footballers do kitchen keepy-uppies with toilet rolls. That’s exercise in lockdown.

While the outdoor world is being constricted, the home has become a sweaty refuge. Platforms like Zoom, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook are offering the tortures of cardio, high-intensity interval training, yoga and pilates for free. Programmes like Move it or Lose it are catering for the elderly on Facebook and even kids are getting involved with Joe Wicks’ live YouTube lessons. Others are deciding to cut through excuses with creativity. Personal trainer Ryan Dack suggests lifting your child’s now redundant school bag as a sort of kettle bell weight.

Online communities are pushing each other too. Weightlifters are sharing and admiring homemade squat racks on the social site, Reddit. Runners are taking to the Edinburgh initiated Instagram 5k challenge: run 5km, donate £5 to the NHS and tag five friends to do likewise.

Sports celebrities are also mucking in with the likes of world heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury training with fans on Instagram. Despite the toll of lockdown on athletes, Olympians have been posting cheerful videos of their home workouts. Stationary bikes, door frame pull ups and lunges are as advanced as the regimens get. Some are recorded using their toddlers as dumbbells. Others are not lucky enough to have that equipment. Paul Chelimo, a 5000m Olympic silver medallist isolating in his hotel room, is now running on the spot. He jokingly posted a video of his treadmill bathtub – washing up liquid; bare feet; hang on to the towel rail – start running!

Even amateurs have gone to extreme lengths in the most literal sense. Pan Shancu from the city of Hangzhou ran 31 miles in his living room. But the most deserved salute goes to 99-year-old World War II veteran, Captain Tom Moore, who raised more than £12 million for the NHS on a sponsored march up and down his garden with his Zimmer frame.

Exercise is necessarily limited in Lockdown, and while some worry about putting on weight, others are embracing it. Plus-size model Tess Holiday got angry on video sharing site TikTok: “We have bigger things to worry about than weight gain like – surviving.” Then adding, “also if you don’t want to eat those Oreos, I fucking will so tell me where you live and I’ll eat them for you.” This received a mixed reaction from followers.

Other takes on the pandemic and fitness have incurred far more severe responses. Russian model and body builder Yulia Ushakova was slammed for wearing a skimpy swimsuit she made from sought after medical masks. But Dubai based runner and influencer Semia Azaiz faced more than just words when she was arrested by the police after Twitter users reported her for making numerous videos suggesting followers should ignore quarantine rules.

So, it’s fair to say we’re not short of lockdown workout plans, and if you can’t think of one almost anything goes – just as long as it doesn’t get you arrested or involve sportswear made of scarce medical equipment…

Image: Katy Steward via Flickr

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