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Call to stay close to home during Covid-19 crisis

Written by Fiona

March 19 2020

I find myself stunned by the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK and worldwide. I am not going to go into the politics of what is happening and nor will I use this website to rant about people stripping supermarkets of food (that is on Facebook). Instead, I thought I would write a blog, from the perspective on an outdoorsy person, about how to stay positive and what we can do to stay fit and healthy.

As it stands, we are still able to spend time outdoors but most advice is now pointing to it being very limited.

Read: Views from a Scot in Spanish lockdown.

Those who have Covid-19, or suspect they have been infected, or live/have been in contact with someone who is infected, should stay at home. The advice is seven days at home for the person with C19 and 14 days for those who live with them.

Our opportunities for outdoor activity should now be limited but the mountains will always be there…

Can we still go outdoors?

As a general rule, we can still spend time outdoors in the fresh air staying fit. However, there are some commonsense limitations on this. We should try to limit our impact on emergency services, including mountain rescue. This means being sensible about our activities and where we go.

Therefore, this is not the time to take up a new extreme sport or find the gnarliest rockface to climb or the steepest gully to ski.

No one should be aiming to do an activity that puts them at risk of injury because our medical services are already over-burdened. The Scottish Mountain Rescue Service has issued a plea for us to act with good sense.

The rescue services have updated their appeal after a frustrustingly busy weekend.

Lomond MRT statement:

Lomond MRT, and colleagues from across the country, have been busy this weekend – despite calls for all non-essential travel to stop.

Our team members are all volunteers, with families and businesses. Responding to an emergency may put their loved ones, or their livelihoods, at greater risk.

Our NHS services are already stretched and we would ask, please don’t add to their load.

We above all appreciate what the mountains mean to so many of us. Be considerate and they will still be there to enjoy once the current crisis is over.

For updates follow the hastag #StayLocalStaySafe #24/7/365

What can we do outdoors?

The key message is to stay safe and stay local. This does not mean, at this stage in the Covid-19 crisis, that can’t head walk and run locally but we must be very sensible.

Spending time outdoors is good for our physical and mental health and no one has yet banned it.

This weekend I curtailed a planned walk-run The Cobbler in the Arrocahr Alps. While I am confident in my abilities to navigate in this area and it is “only” a 40-minute drive from home, I realised that even this had the potential to add pressure to emergency services because there is still ice and snow in the Scottish mountains and that could lead to an accident.

In addition, reports and photos revealed a huge crowding issue at honeypot tourism locations across Scotland. The Arrochar Alps are often busy but they were reportedly rammed with people this weekend. The emergency services had to deal with many more call outs than they normally do.

I chose instead to stay home, do some household chores and take a solo run in my local hills, the Kilpatricks. These were also busier than I have ever seen but I was able to keep my two metre social distance from other people.

Basically, use your best commonsense while spending time outdoors.

The advice is: Do not take your germs to other localities (ie do not use shops, cafes, petrol stations etc outwith out own local area), reduce the distance that you travel, stay away from other people (social distancing) and choose an activity and route that is well within your comfort zone. Do more of your activities at home.

There may come a time when, like France, Spain and Italy, most activity other than staying at home and occasionally going to the supermarket will be the rule in the UK, but until then I think we should take the opportunity to spend time outdoors.

By the way, these European countries do allow for some limited outdoors exercise but in some locations you need a permit to do so and the rule is on your own and local.

Find an on-line yoga session or make one up.

Stay-at-home ideas for outdoors fans during Covid-19

Everyone will be spending a lot more time in their homes in the coming weeks (months?). So many activities and sport facilities, such as climbing centres, fitness studios and gyms have closed.

We have been told to limit our socialising and many people are now working from home, too.

The situation will put strain on people both physcially and mentally.

Here are some ideas and tips for staying active and mentally robust.

My weights collection at home.

Virtual training sessions

There are plenty of virtual training sessions and yoga workouts that you can do indoors (some free and some paid for.)

Some gyms and instructors have set up on-line sessions, through apps such as Zoom, so they can help clients to stay in shape.

Turbo training for cyclists is also a great idea. I know many who utilise Zwift for indoor cycle training, for example.

There are also plenty of mindful and meditation apps that will be useful for those who struggle to find any positives at being stuck indoors.

Adapt what you know: If your circuits class or yoga session has been cancelled (most have) try to remember what you do each week. You can replicate a lot of these exercises at home.

If you do not own weights, for example, make use of items such as heavy saucepans or tins of food as make-shift weights.

Climb the stairs repeatedly for cardio exercise or take a skipping rope into the garden.

We need to go back to basics and remember how we used to train before the influx of modern gadgets, unless you are fortunate to have a full at-home workout set up.

A press ups challenge.

At-home fitness challenges

A goal is always helpful for motivation. For example, while I was skiing for a month I had a goal of doing 20 press ups every day. I wanted to see if I could manage 20 good quality press ups in a row by the end of the month. I did. It is amazing what you can achieve when you repeat something daily or every other day.

Ideas for challenges: Press-up build up. Start with one press up and build by an extra press up each day.

Hold a plank for an increasing time each day.

Other exercises might include sun salutations, pull ups, squats, skipping for set duration etc.

It is important to define the goal and progression.

Make use of a foam roller!

Recover more

Many sporty people are guilty of pushing our bodies too hard. Take this opportunity to allow a niggle or injury to properly repair or work on the physio that you should have been doing before but never seem to get around to. This will pay off in the longer-term.

Make adventuure plans

If we can’t go out on big adventures just now, we can make plans for new adventures when the time comes. Read about other people’s adventures on-line, in blogs and magazines, or look through the books you probably have gathering dust on book shelves.

Write a list of the top 10 places you would like to go and start researching plans for ticking these off.

Gather some friends for a “virtual pub night” (by Facetime or Skype) and discuss your plans for travels, races and adventures.

Read inspiring books

I bet most outdoorsy people have a shelf of books that they have not yet read. These could be adventure books or any kind of general book. If you are like me, I do not usually have time to read because I am too busy being outdoors, or working.

You could also listen to podcasts and audio books if you run out of books to read. Some libraries offer access to a huge range of audio books, too.

If you need inspiration about what to read, ask your friends or the wider public on social media. People will have time to give you lists I think.

Read my “best of” my books list. You can buy for a Kindle or other digital readers, or on audio, if you can’t get hold of heard copies.

And more: books to read about walking and cycling in Scotland.

Repair and sort, wax and edge

Now is the time to sort your cupboard, shed or garage of outdoors equipment. Assess all items for wear and tear and see if you can do some repairs.

If you have wax and edge kit for skis and snowboards, get it out and get on with it!

Rewaterproof jackets and trousers and treat walking boots to a polish or clean.

Get you bike/s out and clean, oil, sort tyres etc. I usually lose a day or two to bicycle repairs and maintenance.

Sort and recycle: Consider what you need – and what you might put in a bag for recycling or gifting to an organisation that can make better use of the item. Keep a note of Gift Your Gear for when you need it.

I also wrote about a new youth mountaineering group that will be keen to take useful kit. They are based in East Kilbride, Scotland.

Sort and reorder: Put everything back in place in order. You will feel really satisfied with your efforts!

Web & blogs

If you run a website or blog, it could be a good idea to spend some time reviewing the site. Take a critical look at what it looks like and the various categories and elements.

Think about the direction that you plan, or have been planning, to take with this resource. It could be a good idea to ask someone to look through your website for you and critique it. (I do this for companies, if you are interested.)

A few things to ask yourself, include:

  • Does your site need to be rewritten or refocused?
  • Do you need to start a news feed or blog or update your blog?
  • Are the links and photos all working?
  • Does the theme or look need to be updated.

If you have been thinking about starting a blog as a way to market or promote your business or for improved SEO, now is the time. I can also help with this if you would like to discuss your ideas. See my writing and blogging skills.

Sort your photos

Many outdoorsy people take hundreds of photos and videos. They then sit in desktop galleries and in cloud storage.

Make sure you have photos backed up.

Sort through your photos, deleting those you do not need and sorting others into useful archive files. This will make them so much easier to find.

You could create a few “hard copy” albums making use of on-line resources such as Photobox.

It is uplifting to look through photos and remember what you have done before. Hopefully this will inspire you to do more in the future.

Stay in touch with people

We will all benefit from staying in regular touch with each other, whether on-line or by phone.  If you know of people who suffer with depression or low mood, they will be very vulnerable due to isolation.

If you know that you suffer with low mood and depression yourself, make sure you tell other people so they will be reminded to stay connected to you.

Set up Whatsapp group, pick up the phone or send people a message on-line. There are so many ways we can stay in touch.

Does anyone else have any tips or ideas to get us through this Covid-19 nightmare?

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