Forest

Outside at Different Speeds and Inside Huffing

I have now reached the part of my summer holidays social isolation where I feel ready to discuss my “exercise” “regime”. To be honest, I’m pleasantly surprised I’ve managed to stay active even with no BJJ for now. I’ve fully accepted I’m going to be really lost when mat time is finally permitted again. But unlike the version of me from like 5 years ago, I’ve actually spent this isolation time working on boring things (for me): cardio and body weight exercises. And going for walks in new places.

“Fuck running but good for you”

This was a training partner’s comment to me finally completing a jog where I ran more than I walked. She summed my thoughts to a t. Since isolation began, I’ve gone running twice a week. I don’t like running. Running is mind-bendingly dull, although I know people who swear by it. I used to think I just can’t appreciate the sport because of my poor cardio skillz. Now that I’ve improved enough to not cough up my lungs after 30 seconds and purchased suitable shoes, I can declare that this crap is still boring.

Of course, my “runs” for the week I’m writing this post go like this:

1 minute 30 seconds: walk briskly
2 minutes: run
1 minute 30 seconds: walk briskly
2 minutes: run
Repeat until you’ve ran for 20 minutes in total. Wheeze, curse your maker.

I started out with 30 second spurts of jogging with 2 minute walks in between in March. So we are getting somewhere. Next week, I’ll try running 3 minutes at a time.

Spot the jogger who photobombed my picture.

Look Mum, I’m Doing Home Exercises

I’d tried to do strength & conditioning (Boring Gym) once a week to help my jiu-jitsu when training was still happening. Sometimes I could be bothered, sometimes not. Any sort of solo drills or body weight exercises I hadn’t touched outside warm-ups in class. As someone who is pretty strong but also very weak in some parts of their body, I’ve now decided to treat isolation as the opportunity to improve some bits of my body’s performance that frustrate me.

I plank every day. I have no idea if it’s makes any change but it’s something to do. I’m not able to add 10 seconds a day to my time like Jyri visualised when he encouraged us to do the exercise during lockdown. That’s okay. I started with holding out for 1 minute with a faulty technique. Now planking for 2 minutes 30 seconds in a row is becoming the norm.

The bane of my existence in class are technical stand-ups. I just haven’t been able to perform them with any grace or swiftness. Now I’ve finally bitten the bullet and do 30 technical stand-ups twice a week as one part of my body weight exercises. The stand-ups already feel slightly less horrible than two weeks ago when I started.

Also, a month ago I couldn’t lift my crossed legs to work on my abs without walking funny the next two days. I can now, repeatedly. Who would have thought that if you keep doing something twice a week, you might improve?

Go New Places

The days I don’t run, I walk. Going outside hasn’t been prohibited in Finland and the fresh air helps clear my head. I go out solo. On weekends, me and my partner look for a place in Helsinki we haven’t been to before and go walking there. I feel it’s uplifting to have at least some change of scenery.

We’ve seen parks, forests, beaches and the island of Seurasaari with its outdoor historic museum. I’m not an outdoorsy kind of person usually, but now this is one of the few forms of recreation allowed outside our flat, I cherish my city that has plenty of nature close to my home.

In some ways, I’m glad that being forced to work from home and having to put my beloved hobby on hold has made me try new things to keep myself busy. I find the progress I experience from both my semi-runs and home exercises really encouraging. I want to keep doing both to some extent after lockdown ends some day, even if just once a week.

Choose your own adventure.

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