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Staying fit and well in lockdown: Gareth’s blog

“I work for RNIB and have had to adjust to working from home. I am usually very active and love playing VI rugby, for both the mental and physical benefits. That’s why I have developed a morning routine that focuses on emotional wellbeing as well as fitness.

“I start the day by journaling about what’s on my mind and what I want to achieve that day. It helps me to focus. I then meditate for up to 20 minutes. Finding that little bit of calm in the morning sets me up for the day.

“I usually exercise at around the same time in the morning but the activities change. Some days I will do a long-distance run around my local park – making sure I keep a healthy distance from other runners, of course! A friend of mine is a personal trainer and has been live-streaming 20 minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Exercise) workouts over Facebook, which are guaranteed to work up a sweat. I also have some at-home weights, which are good for strength and toning.

“Sometimes I need to do something a bit more relaxing. You can find so many yoga videos on YouTube, which are free to access and are great for relieving anxiety and increasing flexibility. I also enjoy just walking through the forest and listening to the birdsong, it does wonders for my mental health.

“I try to do some kind of physical activity six days a week. Once you get into a routine, you really notice the positive change in your mood. It makes you feel like you can do anything.

“Nutrition is also very important – I get really geeky about it. I follow a plant-based diet and lockdown has made me realise that you can create delicious, healthy meals with some key basics like lentils, fresh vegetables and spices. Now is the time to get a bit creative in the kitchen!

“It can be hard to know how to start exercising when living with sight loss. The most important thing is to prioritise your own safety. Start off slowly and take your time if embarking on a new fitness routine – don’t push yourself past your limits. There are lots of very safe exercises you can do with your own bodyweight, like sit-ups, press-ups and squats.

“The hardest part of any fitness journey is starting, but once you’ve done your first work-out you’ll feel such a buzz. Push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit. Take the time to find something that you enjoy that works for you.”