Simmie Girls Can in Lockdown

It’s really hard to stay active during lockdown, but it is possible. Here’s how some of your fellow Simmies have been keeping up their fitness regimes - scroll down to below this gallery to hear from each of them how they've been staying active recently.

Lily Collins, Ladies’ Hockey President - “I have been trying to stay active throughout the lockdowns by running and going out for walks regularly with my house mates. It’s also a good way of taking time out of your day to get a break from uni work”

Alice Curr, Ladies’ Football President - “Throughout lockdown I have been going on long walks and completing online HIT videos to keep fit. Hopefully we will be back playing football soon”

Maisie Ward, SMSU Sport President - “Recently I have been doing online workouts with my 11-year-old sister on zoom, not only do I get the benefit of getting some extra workouts in, but I can help her keep fit too as a keen football player”

Caty Stirling Lee, Ladies' Futsal President - “One of the best things about university sport is being able to keep active within a team environment with all your friends. I definitely missed being able to exercise with other people over lockdown and found it hard to stay motivated! However, I did manage to find some things I enjoyed doing, like running, HIIT workouts and little bit of yoga with my sister. These are all things I hadn’t really done before and so were very much out of my comfort zone. I also got to play a bit of cricket over the summer when restrictions were lifted but I can’t wait to get back to playing football and futsal with the girls in the future”

Niamh Moore, SMSU Education President - “During these past lockdowns I have really had to adjust my training. I have spent my entire life playing team sports and felt at a loss when suddenly my training wasn't in preparation for a match or to be better for my team. I started running a lot more regularly working on distance, rather than short intervals that would be more associated with Gaelic football and baseball. I'm running a couple of times a week with some strength workouts in-between. I can't say that I prefer long distance running but it's a mental barrier that I have overcome and pushes me to not categorise myself in what I can/can't do before even trying. We have such beautiful running routes in the area it definitely makes it easier!”

Kia Chedgey, Netball President - “I have been keeping fit an active throughout lockdown by recently contributing to St Mary’s Netball charity event for Alzheimer’s, where as a club we have been running, walking and cycling to achieve our goal of 2021km! I have also been setting personalised fitness goals each week for physical and mental benefits!”

Broghan Finnegan, PGCE Student and Netball player - “I have been completing my Secondary PE PGCE during lockdown and this has involved encouraging and inspiring children to continue to keep active. We’ve been doing this through delivering live PE lessons and setting weekly PE challenges”

Chelsey Logan, ex-St Mary’s student and Football Player - “Lockdown has been challenging and I have found exercise as an escape from working at home, I have been going on walks, runs and cycles in order to give me mental stability”

Emily Chong, St Mary’s Masters Student - When the first lockdown was announced last year, it was a stressful time for everyone. I was self-employed as a coach at a school, as a therapist at a physio clinic, as a personal trainer in a gym and as a swim coach. All of these venues were shut, and I had zero income. Luckily, I had a digital media background and managed to quickly develop some virtual training sessions and launched them online. A big part of my life was travelling abroad to go to triathlons and to cycling events, but suddenly the whole season was cancelled and there seemed to be little point to training. I guess in some ways the virtual sessions I put on for others kept me active too.

Once the government announced that there was going to be grants for self-employed people and lockdown life settled into its own rhythm, I decided to make the most out of the free time I’d otherwise never have. I went out for weekday long bike rides, did all sorts of DIY around the house, soldered electrical circuits... I realised by the summer that the lockdown would continue so I decided to take on something I’ve been meaning to do for years - go back to uni!

I finished my first degree in 2005 and hadn’t written an essay since. Needless to say the first assignment in October for the MSc Biomechanics in Sports and Science was a shock to the system... but the opportunity to access all the equipment and software in the lab is very exciting. The 60km round trip to St Mary’s was also keeping me fit (until lockdowns 2 and 3 when classes moved back to being online).

While this pandemic is far from an ideal situation, and has been devastating for some, staying active and trying new things can help one’s mental well-being, or at the very least save you from boredom!"

Stephanie Ramsay, keen swimmer - Chlorine and I have almost always had a close relationship, so keeping fit with the pools closed during lockdown was initially a daunting task. I’ve swum and done artistic swimming for most of my life, ever since the local swim club coach recruited me from a public session. I wish I could say it was for my swimming prowess but, at 9 years old, I was just conveniently the right age to be the fourth person on their relay team.

I joined the Out to Swim Angels – the artistic swimming section of the club - in 2016 as a favour to a friend. Once again, I just happened to be available at the right time. But it felt significant. It was the first time I’d been part of a team since a serious accident a couple of years previously and I immediately became immersed. I realised pretty quickly that I needed to be swimming as well, if I wanted the fitness to make it through a routine, so I started attending the weekly women’s session and it built from there.

Pretty soon I found myself standing for Women’s Competitions Captain for the swimming side of the club, and not long after that I was running beginners’ artistic swimming courses. In 2020, I took over the role of Artistic Swimming Chair. As a primarily LGBTQ+ club (although we have members who identify everywhere along the spectrums), and as artistic swimmers, we’re a minority in a minority. So one of our big focuses has been on advocating for artistic swimming for all. This means a long history of supporting men in synchro. It also means making it easy for any adult who wants to give artistic swimming a try.

We’ve been running regular beginners' courses, which I’ve headed up, since 2017 and graduates have gone on to continue artistic swimming at the level they’re most comfortable with. Some have competed at Nationals, others just enjoy coming along for the training. We’re a team sport and our community is important to us.

So. On to 2020.

I’ve already said that lockdown training felt daunting. I can run (ish) but I’ve never taken much enjoyment from it. And I’ve not owned a bike since I gave up my paper round at 14. Out to Swim have done a great job of running Zoom workouts that cover all sorts of areas of fitness, including a flexibility session every week, which is important for artistic swimming. I’m so impressed with everyone’s improvement so far! However, cardio was sorely needed.

Thankfully, I have a friend with a similar relationship with running to mine. So when she suggested at the beginning of Lockdown 1 that we join each other on a WhatsApp call and take regular breaks to do press ups, it seemed like a good idea. The idea was that each time we stopped, we’d be grateful to the press ups, and each time we ran, we’d be glad to be moving again. This is what has become known as a ‘Hideous idea’.

To be clear, a Hideous idea is one that you look at with some trepidation, but you know is going to turn into something great. Soon we were voluntarily running a couple of times a week, and doing extras during lunch breaks. I can’t say that this is an inspirational story of how we’ve both become marathon runners, but it certainly changed our relationship with running. And soon those mid-run core and upper body stations began to have an effect. With open water venues reopening and then pools, we were back to swimming, as well as running. I’ve seen and swum in some beautiful places this year that I’d otherwise never have thought of. And that was my second conversion: open water swimming. But more of that later.

As the Tiers started rising, we found ourselves firmly back on dryland and with a determination to share the benefits of Hideous with a wider community. Hideous was set up as a company, with the long term goal to be a way of connecting anyone with a goal with a coach or support to help them achieve it. If we’d both tried running alone, we’d probably still be in our living rooms.

Our first goal, though, is to provide a community where people can workout at their own pace and with other people. Since the beginning of Lockdown 3 our calls have become somewhat bigger and encompass a range of ages and abilities. Being on a call means no-one can see if you’re sweating your way through or how fast you run. But you do get the benefit of a team effort, a place to chat and the opportunity to watch week-on-week improvement.

So, it’s turned out that perhaps lockdown exercise wasn’t so scary, or difficult as I first thought. In fact, it’s found me a whole community of slowly converting runners, and open water swimmers. And the threat of a circumnavigation swim of Jersey when the world restarts fully. That idea was not mine, but it is Hideous. So, it seems our ethos is catching!"

Lauren Nichols, St Mary's Athletics President - “Since this all started I have ran over 2,500 miles, this has been a combination of both runs and sessions set by my coach. On top of this I have tried to maintain weekly home based strength and conditioning sessions and drills. I’m now looking forward to the day I can race again!”

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