Yippee! I'm finally back in the gym after months in lockdown

Image: SHUTTERSTOCK
Image: SHUTTERSTOCK

Last Wednesday was a date that will live long in my memory, for after months of sitting on the sidelines I was able to get back into the gym.

Anybody who knows me also knows I'm a bit of an exercise geek. Hikes, swimming, paddling, mountaineering ... you name it, I'll try it in the name of outdoor adventure.

That love affair has been a comfort and a beacon during both lockdowns in Victoria, even as the walls of my existence contracted around me.

When the shutters came down in March I dusted off my bikes, which had long sat idle after a hiking hiccough left me injured, and packed them off to the bike shop to be overhauled.

In the months that followed, through the cold wet days of winter and into the balmier days of spring, I was out on two wheels.

The freedom of sprinting along dirt tracks, the wind in my hair, dust in my face was a much-needed antidote to constantly being in the same four walls.

I explored the rail trails and bush tracks near my home, and then graduated to my road bike to increase the mileage and the opportunity for new scenery.

Coming home at the end of an exhausting day out was the best feeling. Not to mention it gave me the latitude to eat what I liked, at least for one meal.

But it didn't replace my love-affair with the gym, which, frankly, a lot of people don't get.

It's boring, they say. I can't be bothered and I don't know what to do, say others.

That was me, until a few years back when I signed up to a trainer (who also happened to be a physiotherapist, lucky me) and was inducted into gym life.

It's anything but boring once you know how to use all that kit. It keeps me sane.

Recent research has shown that strength training has benefits for cognitive ability, just as cardio helps with your breathing and heart health.

And they both will help with weight loss, if that is your aim, especially after all that COVID-19 sitting around binge-watching Netflix and eating, well, just about anything to hand.

My aim is to be fit enough to do the outdoor activities I love. I have other friends who are gym-bunnies to be fit enough to garden, or to keep their mobility as they age.

There's one friend who does it to stay in all the wonderful clothes she's collected over the years.

So when the lockdowns shut gyms, I mourned the loss. There was a chasm in my day where the trip to the gym used to be. I missed the friends I had made and the friendly chats I'd have.

It was a lonely old time.

But then the news came that my gym would re-open, albeit with shorter hours and new virus rules in place. But I could get back on the pin machines, or throw around a kettle bell again.

Yes, the result was a few stiff and tender muscles (I'll have my physio back on speed dial soon) but, boy, did that feel good.

Bring it on.

This story Yippee! I'm finally back in the gym after months in lockdown first appeared on The Canberra Times.