Covid-19 and it’s challenges

It’s a new and unprecedented world at the moment. Most places being on lockdown and the prospect of the virus changing the way we live and for those of us on the spectrum, our routines.

I’ve been quiet for the last few weeks, because, I myself have been sick. I’ve been admitted, albeit briefly to hospital being unable breathe; this was a scary experience, with paramedics arriving at my home in full ‘hazmat’ suits. I was diagnosed with Covid and a chest infection. Two weeks later and my breathing is starting to become normalised.

Like many competitive athletes, I measure a lot of metrics; heart rate, VO2 Max, lung capacity, sleep patterns, even mood. All of this data can be analysed for marginal improvement or to show if something is wrong. Being this sick has thrown everything way out: I am four weeks behind on my training programme and the only real exercise has been one ride and one decent walk, in almost a month. Normally, I would be climbing the walls, but I’m not. I am slowly recovering, because, frankly I cannot do anything much more than that.

Normative behaviour for people is changing as well. For me and others on the spectrum this is more difficult than others. I have routine, I plan everything meticulously and I can be resistant towards upheaval. That said, I am attempting to be pragmatic about the situation as negative emotions mean that I am far more given to depression and that’s something to desperately try to avoid.

So I, and we need to create new ‘normal’ and acknowledge that this will change in time. We have no idea of how long lockdown measures will be imposed but I suspect, with only a rudimentary knowledge of biology and hazardous materials, that some level of restrictions are going to be with us for a long time, at least until there is either a cure or a vaccine and who knows how long that will take.

Training, once I can is going to largely consist of turbo training, indoor which is hot and uncomfortable but it is productive in building power and endurance. Anything outside will be kept to simple trails. There’s no point risking an injury from riding anything technical and requiring emergency services and treatment; the hospital staff are doing an amazing job and adding to their burden is selfish. For reference, anyone interested I use a Tacx Satori smart trainer and Zwift as software.

I am looking forward to being able to go for a run again. This, can be done with minimum risk and cross training is important.

I miss living in nature, when in Switzerland, where I lived in an alpine village and had trails to walk, run or ride on my doorstep. This will always been my long term future goal.

I suspect that gyms are going to be closed for a while, but we have balance boards, a Swiss ball, a couple of kettlebells and other stuff which will allow for some strength work.

For socialisation, I have been reliant upon social media and technology for a long time, this is the result of living further away from friends. So, phone calls, Facebook and all of those things have continued to offer a normal.

I am also considering doing an online radio show during the lockdown; I cannot run club nights for the time being. My partner and I have found an interest in houseplants, the challenge being something that isn’t toxic to cats.

So, the challenge is staying healthy and well. Goals and ambitions have been second to fighting one hell of a virus and I cannot recall a time in which I have felt quite so physically battered and when I have had so little energy, yet my emotional and psychological state has been so stable and positive.

With the simple fact that the virus is going to impact upon all of our lives for some time yet, it’s important to create new routine. Once I am fit to go out and back to work, this begins; in the meantime I can starting planning new norms.

It’s also interesting that English case law has determined that for people with autism who enjoy exercise, they are not restricted to only once a day, but social distancing must be adhered to. This recognition that some individuals have greater need than others, hopefully this will make people’s quality of lives better and for me in a support worker role, it allows me more scope to satisfy my service user’s needs, albeit, subject to a great deal of other restrictions.

Stay safe, stay home and stay well.

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