End of year review

The end of the year is here and many people including myself often have a little reflection on the past twelve months. This year, more than any other, has been strange to say the least, with many changes – both good and bad, with plenty of ups and downs!

Obviously COVID-19 has had a huge impact on people this year, physically, emotionally and financially. For me personally being totally self employed means I have had a huge financial hit, with the majority of my work stopping in March when we first went into lockdown. Two of my regular corporate contracts came to an abrupt end at lockdown and sadly have not restarted due to ongoing financial difficulties. My chair based exercise classes in dementia care homes has also ceased due to social distancing, and staff shortages and the challenges of engaging with this population remotely has meant that these online sessions are currently few and far between. I’m hoping that with the rollout of a vaccine some normality can resume and I can get back to seeing some of the lovely residents and amazing staff who really enjoy and benefit from the exercise sessions.

Emotionally it’s been a huge rollercoaster! I think many of us, including myself, have at some point struggled to cope with boredom, loneliness, worry and uncertainty of the future. I know that during lockdown many people found a new love for exercise, not only as a way of staying fit, but to also have a routine during the long days and weeks of lockdown. Not only do you get the physical benefits of regular exercise, it is also a great way to improve mental well being and lift our mood. When I worked for the NHS I ran a gym in a secure mental health unit and have seen first hand the positive effects regular exercise can have on mental well being. It’s also great that you don’t need to sweat in the gym for hours to experience the benefits – as little as a 10 minute brisk walk outside has been shown to help reduce anxiety so its well worth getting out of the house for a short break.

As well as COVID-19 another significant event this year was my 50th! The plans to have a lavish celebration in Vegas didn’t happen due to finances, but I did spend a few lovely weeks in Cornwall and had two, yes TWO, birthday cakes, so it wasn’t too bad. I did a lot of walking in Cornwall, and I came home feeling refreshed and also a bit achy after giving the old leg muscles a good workout! As someone who is now of a ‘certain’ age and who trains clients in functional fitness I appreciate on both a personal and professional level how important it is to keep active the older we get, and that for some the aging process means slowing down slightly or feeling those aches and pains a bit more – either during exercise or just in everyday life. This does not mean we have to stop doing the things we love, but maybe having to consider changing or adapting the way we exercise and train. I myself have an age related issue with my back which has meant that the Olympic weightlifting that I used to enjoy has been adapted so I can restart training (next year!).

It was also around my birthday in September that the opportunity of renting and running my own treatment room came up. After much debate and wondering if I was insane trying to build a new clinic in the middle of a pandemic, I took the plunge and opened up at BodyCare in South Benfleet in October, to be shut down exactly a month later for another lockdown in November, open for two weeks in December, and shut again. I’m not going to lie – it’s tough, but the process has been made much less painful by the great support from the BodyCare ladies Jo and Nicola, and the clients that I’ve had the pleasure to meet since I’ve opened. The great feedback I’ve received really gives me confidence that I’m doing a decent job and that I’ve made the right decision.

Speaking of feedback (see what I did there?), if I’ve seen you this year it would be much appreciated if you could leave me some feedback. Facebook decided to change their algorithms the other week which has wiped off all my previous reviews, so I’m currently review-less! I’ve also just set up on Google Business so if you aren’t on Facebook you have the option to review me there. Links are here: https://www.facebook.com/Fit4Longer, shorturl.at/fuAEJ

Thanks to everyone for all your support in what has been a tough year, we WILL get through this and come out stronger on the other side. I look forward to seeing you all in 2021!

Fit for Longer