Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Is post-lockdown going to be your second chance?

Opportunities abound and too often we don't use or appreciate what we have until it is taken away from us.

Around the world, people are in lockdown and they are restricted from going outside to exercise. For the runners, walkers, cyclists, paddlers, gym-goers, dancers and others who participate in individual and team sports regularly, they have made do with exercising at home by doing online classes, body-weight exercises, indoor equipment and running circles around their homes.

As restrictions begin to lift, there is an all-encompassing worry that thousands of people will now 'suddenly' become runners and walkers and cyclists and thus exploit the lifting of restrictions.

IMHO - Good. For. Them!

In the years when I created and organised the FEAT adventure speaker annual events, I was always quite intrigued by emails from people (looking to speak or for sponsorship) that told of great losses and how this changed their life and that now they were going to run across continents, climb mountains, swim oceans... Before the loss, they were neither runners, mountaineers or swimmers.

As someone who has done sport and exercise daily or almost daily for the whole of my conscious life, I can come up with many reasons why people don't do any activities but I just don't get it.

Too much work. Too little time. Get home too late, leave for work too early. Stress. They are overweight so exercise is an effort, difficult and uncomfortable. They have never found a sport or activity that they love and that fuels their self-motivation. Young children and no partner or an unsupportive partner so leaving children alone to go run is not an option. And dozens of others. I've been intermittently caught by a bunch of these over the years and they severely curtailed my motivation and activities.

But then, the person survives a terrible accident that leaves them wheelchair-bound and having to learn to walk again. Or, they are clear of cancer after rounds of chemo. Or they recover after a heart attack or kick a drug habit.

Then something happens. The outdoors, adventures and expeditions beckon and they go on to live a second life where being fit and healthy and active and outdoors is so much a part of their existence.

It seems silly that we need a wake-up, shake-up to tell us how important our health is and how rewarding (mentally and physically) being active can be.

While I don't get it, I also figure that it is better late than never for someone to discover a new passion and to live a life so much richer for these new experiences.

Is this global coronavirus catastrophe and severe lockdown going to be a wake-up, shake-up for some? A figurative bash on the head that shouts, "GET OUTSIDE NOW!".

I hope that the expected surge of new runners, walkers and cyclists is not just a 'New Year's Resolution' fitness spike but that it really is a second chance for them. The chance to incorporate outdoor activity, learning new disciplines, discovering lovely places to be active, and embarking on expeditions into this second chance at life, and to share this with their children, partners, families and friends.