I have been really struggling as the lockdown continues and saw a return of my depression symptoms, so much so that I had to go back on medication again. At the same time my chronic pain got worse and the treatment I had just before lockdown did nothing at all to ease it. For the last few weeks I struggled to get out of bed before mid afternoon and couldn’t get motivated to do much of anything. Until last week I was wasting the days away watching TV, surfing social media and playing games on my phone.
My consultant had reminded me about the importance of exercise in controlling the pain and, without my weekly wheelchair tennis sessions, I was doing absolutely nothing. My physio referral won’t happen until after lockdown now, so I went online and downloaded some recommended back exercises to do at home. I had a week where I did those every day but, gradually, they just made the pain worse and so I had to stop again. I had resigned myself to living a half life until the pandemic had resolved but then I was offered a lifeline by an adaptive boxing coach (Luiz Faye – see picture) who is running seated boxing fitness classes online, every weekday.
Anyone who knows me will know that it’s not really in my nature to go around punching people. My friends were surprised when I started to do Tae Kwon Do, a few years ago, when I was still able to. But I absolutely loved it, although I never really enjoyed the sparring part. I was always much happier doing patterns, solo moves and pad work. I was a bit nervous about trying boxing because, again, I didn’t really want to punch actual people. However Luiz reassured me that plenty of people enjoyed the sport by just doing the training, combinations and pad work and there was no requirement to hit anyone, phew!!!
I did my first session on Friday and absolutely loved it. It was held in the morning and that was the first day since lockdown that I have had a happy and productive day. The exercise is really working as an excellent antidepressant for me, so much so that I’m going to wean myself off the medication again. I’m going to taper down my pain meds as well as it’s really helping my pain too. I am so glad I found it and can already feel my fitness improving along with my core muscles and stamina.
Luiz is an excellent coach and stresses the importance of pacing ourselves, there’s no pressure to do too much and the other students are an interesting and fun group. She is patient and very clear about what to expect and I find myself wanting to check out a real boxing gym once lockdown is over. Something that I never expected to want to do. It’s a shame she lives up in Yorkshire but the World Boxing Council is hoping to set up groups around the country once they have worked out the relevant protocols and the online classes are going to continue. This is something I will definitely be keeping in my life going forward.
If you know of any fellow wheelies who might be interested then please share and check out Luiz’s facebook group which has full details. https://www.facebook.com/groups/699514570786482