Training while shielding is as hard as it sounds

Monday, 07 December 2020


Simon's Story


After nine years of battling extremely poor health following cancer and many years learning to walk again and gaining physical strength, the announcement of the lockdown at the very end of the winter was a big shock for me. Then when I received letters from the government telling me that I had to shield for four months in my house, I was frightened.

Life living on my own within a house can be very difficult and challenging due to my inability to bend, stretch, lift or move around freely, but I have no option but to manage on my own.

After several years now connecting with Oxford Brookes University I have spent many hours frequenting the gym, and been fortunate enough to have university students that were generous enough to help me. Now, suddenly I was in the house on my own with no support and no assisted exercise.

Being fortunate enough to have a pleasant and reasonable sized back garden, I spent a lot of time in the lockdown period moving around in the garden, walking as much as I could, and attempting my pet hate of stretching my legs as much as possible as for me this is a challenge and painful.

Having to shield I was unable to do what other people were doing. I was unable to exercise each day in public areas like parks and fields so I had to take responsibility and keep moving within my house all day, frequently going up and down the stairs which takes me a lot of time, and even using very light free weights. All of this was challenging on my own because my balance and strength have been compromised following cancer.


Simon with Liz and Ollie


I ensured that each day I spent at least two hours moving around the house as much as possible and being on my feet as much as possible, and I found that another pleasing chore like cleaning became an exercise routine for me. Somebody was kind enough to advise me to try and write the alphabet with my feet to help mobility, as funny as this sounds, I would do this frequently throughout the day. It’s really helped!


A Little Drink Sounds Good


Towards the end of the lockdown I was fortunate enough that Liz and Ollie, two of the graduates who I met at Oxford Brookes took me for a lovely long walk around the park, even a little bit of Prosecco was welcomed.


Under no circumstances will I allow my disability or weakness get in the way.

This piece was written by Simon Mace Brookes Sport Ambassador. This piece was specially written to help celebrate UK Disability History Month.

If you're interested in trying out our facilities, taking part in disability sport or think you might be a good walking companion for Simon please visit Brookes Sport for information about our centre and contact details.