One Form of Exercise a Day: Quarantine’s Saving Grace

This morning, I shot one stone with another from fifty yards and, unironically, celebrated à la Freddie Flintoff in a way I haven’t done since my first and only goal for St Mary’s Primary School B Team. An albeit small victory prompting an instinctive, child-like joy, acting as if no one was watching.

Of course, someone was. They say that in the moment before death you gain a rushing moment of clarity, and in the instant of crushing regret as watched my dignity walk past the hiker to die, this was what I realised: this eagerness and joy in exiting the house and seeking out earlier pursuits has been unlocked from a form of exercise normally reserved for the elderly or happily unemployed.

However, I do realise that I am incredible fortunate – in West Wales you can leave a field between you and the next person, let alone the recommended two metres.

Nevertheless, for people in more confined spaces we have seen an increased enthusiasm to take part in alternative forms of fitness. This has been clearly spearheaded by the University of York’s Dance Society – a group spearheading clubs moving online by organising online classes; Instagram and TikTok challenges seeing members creating routines, duetting with committee members and dancing at home; and creating interactive challenges such as UYDS bingo and UYDS as gifs. UYDS has told Vision that this has also meant that the society has been able to “get involved with the wider dancing community – through other unis and professional dancers”, including past members.

Contacted for comment, UYDS said: “As a new committee, putting our fitness society online has brought us closer together and seen us get very creative in engaging with our members. We are definitely thinking outside the box when it comes to activities next term! Overall, though quarantine has taken away our ability to dance together in person, it has seen us become closer as a society and seen the creativity of our members come through in our challenges and in learning or creating choreo at home”.

With over 130 people getting involved in this new online effort, this has certainly been a success. Sport has become a refuge, an escape into creativity and interactive positivity in a time when these are very hard to muster. This new enthusiasm is something that must be joyfully accepted and the great work of societies like UYDS must be applauded.

It has come to the point that our families have become fellow convicts, our window frames prison bars, and we can practically smell the mind fog of overthinking and stuffy tiredness built up in our suddenly much smaller rooms.

So take joy in your daily escape – your singular, responsible, and socially distanced release. Reenter your childhood self and worship the outdoors. Plug in your headphones and reminisce – whether it’s Miley Cyrus, Macklemore, Grace Kelly, or Golborne Road. If it rains, Vance Joy and pretend you’re in a Jane-Eyre-on-the-moors music video. If it’s sunny, let Sjowgren breeze you along with the softly falling rays.

But above all, notice how much you love these breaks and carry this through when were released from this purgatorial confinement.