Exercise in Lockdown - My April Burpee Challenge
Keeping fit has always been very important, and as part of the lockdown, the government have been trying to emphasise the importance of exercise by allowing us on daily outings to exercise (the only slightly good thing I will probably ever say about how this government have led the UK in this pandemic). Exercise is essential for our mental wellbeing, and always has been. Living through such uncertainty, exercise is more important now than ever, and however you decide to move your body - it's all good.
As part of my 2020 fundraiser, I have been undertaking a different challenge each month, on top of aiming to walk/run/cycle 500km over the year in aid of Sarcoma UK. Last month, I decided I would do 20 burpees a day. My challenges so far have been:
January: Dry month (No alcohol)
February: 1 week of blogs
March: 1 week without social media
April: 20 burpees a day
May (this month, the national month of walking!): 100km of walking
So, what is a burpee? The move (aka squat thrusts) involves squatting with your hands on the floor, kicking out to a plank position and back again, then jumping up (see image - that's one burpee).
Burpees are a full-body exercise, great for many muscles, as well as being a good aerobic exercise integrated into a workout. They hurt. A lot. Normally, I avoid them in workouts, and I would certainly never usually do 20 in one go, so that's why I came up with this challenge.
I thought by the end of the month that perhaps I would like burpees more and would find them easier. I thought as the month went on, the burpees would start feeling better - my legs would stop burning. How naive I was.
The end of the month rolled around, and initially I decided all my expectations were wrong - I still hated burpees, and they are still very difficult. 30 days of burpees and nothing had changed. Sure, I was a bit faster, but I had no desire to ever do them again.
However, I found that I was proud of my perseverance, that no matter what I actually did my 20 burpees every day, discovering that I'll do anything for a challenge, even if I'm not seeing much improvement. But my legs seemed to ache all month long.
I actually got faster over the month. I went from 20 burpees taking 1min 40, to 1min 13! Not too shabby, eh?
Now, having had a (blissful) week off from daily burpees as I write this blog, I can properly reflect. Yesterday I did a workout that involved burpees, and guess what? I did 20 in under a minute!! Faster than any day in April. It seems the short break did my body some good. In addition, I don't hate burpees as much as I did at the start of April. In fact, I am much more likely to include them in a workout. This has surprised me, given that by the end of April I had decided I would never 'burpee' again.
I guess the message of all this, if I wanted one, would be that perseverance is important - the saying 'if at first you don't succeed, try and try again', may have some truth in it. However, if you really dislike an exercise (or something else for that matter), just don't do it. There will always be alternatives. But, sometimes a little bit of consistency, and a good rest period, can be enough to change/improve your outlook, an idea that could be applied in many aspects of life, I suppose.
Anyway, that's if I'm being particularly wishy-washy.
I filmed myself every day doing my burpees, and at the end of the month compiled some of the 'best' bits into a video (what have I become?), I suppose to prove to myself and others that I actually did it; if nothing else came of the challenge - at least I have a video montage to show for it. What I love about the video is how much I struggled from start to finish, and how much I rubbed my poor thighs. Though as my boyfriend pointed out to me, I'm smiling all the way through, so I must have enjoyed them more than I thought!
On April 26th, I even did 26 burpees wearing 26 layers, to raise money for Sarcoma UK through the 2.6 challenge. Thanks to many of you guys we've now raised £488 on my Just Giving page, which I am thrilled about! And I loved all the 2.6/26 themed donation amounts. I can't thank you enough if you have donated to my page.
Have you guys found any inventive ways to keep fit in lockdown? Are you making the most of your daily walks? It's a lot harder to keep up with exercise than you'd think with all our 'extra time', but motivating yourself in such a dark time, when all you have is yourself and the same 4 walls... well, you catch my drift. It's not easy. So, I commend you if you're getting fit in lockdown! And if you're not, I commend you too, because you've read to the end of this blog and that is something to be proud of (thank you very much).
Have a great week,
P.S. This year I am going to be taking on lots of random challenges, on top of running/swimming/cycling 500k over the year! This is all in support of Sarcoma UK, the national sarcoma charity that funds vital research and support for patients and their families affected by the rare cancer. If you want to support me, then you can donate whatever you can through this link. Even £1 would be greatly appreciated, and you can donate completely anonymously!! Thank you!