Original Ideas for Exercising at Home

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

From garden marathons to climbing Everest on the stairs, here's how people are attempting fitness challenges in isolation.


Everest: Rory Southworth is used to extreme challenges. Earlier this month, he led a group of thirty people on an “expedition” to Everest Base Camp. Like any other climb, he donned waterproof clothing, a rucksack of supplies and erected a tent. The one difference? The expedition was virtual (the tent was in his living room), and his group ascended the daily height of the trek by just using their stairs at home, updating each other on their progress on social media.


For Joe Average, psychologists will tell you that in order to achieve such a challenge (or, frankly, any challenge), it's a great idea to 'do it' with others at the same time. It keeps you motivated and makes it more difficult to back out. Nobody likes a wimp!


Rory divided the height of Everest's base camp by the height of his staircase at home. That gave him the number of times he had to run up and down the stairs (without knocking over his girlfriend), in order to achieve his daily goal, which he logged using a step counter on his phone.


“You have to go up a step and down a step to count that as one because we’re not just going up we’re also going down,” said Rory. “We’ve successfully ascended Everest base camp and come back down!”


Marathon: Freddie Bennett-Williams lives in Liverpool with his wife, a doctor (who's working on the frontline against Covid-19), and their two sons. After measuring the garden, Freddie worked out he would need to run 3,000 laps in order to achieve a distance of 26 miles, and wore a GPS tracker to monitor his progress. The ‘lockdown marathon’ took him 6.5 hours, and he raised £1000 for the NHS.


Swimming 3,000m Daily: For Jo Mitchinson, in Luton, being able to continue swimming while in lockdown has been a lifeline. Jo installed a paddling pool in her garden where she could set herself training challenges similar to those she did previously. She can swim long distances in it by attaching a belt around her waist to a resistance band, which is fastened to a wheelie bin full of water.


“It’s not training, it’s about staying fit and happy. When I get out of the water, I feel like everything is back in perspective. I’m healthy,” she said.


Tour de France: Nick Spooner is using isolation to cycle the 3,400km route of the 2019 Tour de France, without the time trials, on an indoor exercise bike to raise money for Hope Not Hate. Nick, 31, is averaging 40km a day on his stationary indoor bike.


"I’m not a professional cyclist, so I think on that basis, anyone can give it a go. I’m doing this for my mental health more than anything.”


As we enter another week of lockdown, fitness challenges have been taking off all over social media. One of the most popular (completed by all the team at OGN Daily) is Run For Heroes: run, walk or cycle 5K (while observing the 2m social distancing rules at all times) and then donate £5 to NHS Charities Together via the Run For Heroes fundraising page


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