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Strength and resilience

Julien Bertherat, Personal Trainer.

We are obviously in a period of crisis right now, which has come upon us quickly and, relatively speaking, without warning. A health crisis, such as the one we are facing right now with the COVID-19 infection, is different from a political or economic crisis. Though both can directly and severely affect us, a health crisis can reach very personally into our homes, lives and relationships in ways that are threatening and upsetting. At such times it is perfectly natural to seek safety when faced with what appears to be a complicated threat. Indeed, taking the kind of sensible measures advocated by the government and health agencies should be adhered to. However, it is also the case that maintaining physical and mental strength during the current period of uncertainty is just as important, if not more so. Currently, the British government advises that people can leave their homes to exercise outdoors and this, to my mind, is one of the vital things that anyone interested in their health and fitness should be doing regularly. This is not only because of the physical health benefits of going for a run or working out in a local park. Being so active goes deeper than these important activities and is as important to the body and mind. Building regular outdoor exercise into a daily or weekly routine adds structure that may be temporarily missing, builds confidence and allows people to breath fresh air and (particularly at this time of year) to enjoy the sunshine. It also allows people to socialise, even if such socialisation is limited and distanced, which confirms to us that we are not alone, isolated and trapped (indoors). Strength-building goes beyond the body. It includes the brain and character, as well as the ability to make difficult decisions. We are also social animals which, by sharing open spaces with other human beings, benefit from doing so and grow in confidence. So embrace this opportunity for structure and solidarity (even if it is at a recommended distance). Finally, be aware of the dangers of over-exposure to 'rolling news'. In the digital age and with a smartphone always within reach, it can become tempting to plug into big and social media in an attempt to stay informed. But there is a difference between being informed and being saturated with information, misinformation and bias. When we tip into the latter we lose perspective, confidence and morale - which can be damaging at the current time. So, stay on top of the information, but also find time to unplug and embrace the living moment. The current health crisis is not going away any time soon, no matter how much we may want it to, so step out of its shadow and into the sunshine. That way, when the crisis does pass, mentally and physically we will be ready to tackle the new challenges that lie ahead.


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