Isolation diary: Going for a virtual walk in the woods

Ten days ago, when the world was a different place, I wrote about going for a walk on Box Hill. We were in voluntary self-isolation but without any symptoms, and it seemed safe to go for a drive and then a walk, well away from other people.

That was, in fact, the last time either of us left the house, apart from one hospital appointment. Days before lockdown was imposed on us all, we had decided to stay safe within our own boundaries.

Our son has been FaceTiming us each day, and yesterday he did so while he was out for his daily exercise with our two grandsons. They live in a village with some beautiful scenery within walking distance, and the two boys were keen to explore the woods with us in virtual tow. We loved it.

That was a simple way to share the countryside with people who are stuck at home, so do think about whether you can do the same for family or friends. Of course, it doesn’t have to be out in the country – anywhere other than inside a building would be a welcome change, even a walk around your garden if you have one. And if you can’t manage FaceTime or similar then take some photos and share them.

Virtual walks are mood boosting, but don’t do much for our fitness. I have never really enjoyed doing sports, or going to the gym, although I have tried. But I am concerned about keeping fit and active, so a couple of years ago I bought a Fitbit, simply to keep track of my step-rate. I have to admit that I don’t always reach the magical 10,000 and when I do the vibration on my wrist makes me jump. But at least it has kept me conscious of the fact that I needed to move and, crucially, encouraged me to go out for a walk every day.

Not surprisingly my step-rate has dropped alarmingly since we have been in self-isolation. What to do about it? I expect you can guess the answer.

I had never heard of Joe Wicks until this week. He is now the country’s favourite PE teacher, with his daily online workouts for children. His first “PE with Joe” session on Monday has had over 5 million views, and I know many adults who have joined in as well. So I asked that fount of all wisdom – my Facebook friends – “Is there anything like Joe Wicks for the elderly?”  The answer came back – yes, there is, it’s Joe Wicks!

It seems he does online home fitness sessions (as The Body Coach) to meet all kinds of needs, from sweat challenges to gentle exercises for seniors. So this morning I joined in the Home Workout for Seniors. To my amazement I really enjoyed it and felt energised and positive afterwards.

I love this comment underneath the video: “Wife & I just done routine, she found the boxing easier if I stood about 12 inches in front of her.”

It seems my fellow editor Paul Walter has also discovered Joe Wicks’ workout sessions, as well as the Great British Home Chorus (more of that another day).

I thought it wiser to post a picture of bluebells in a wood rather than one of me working out this morning…


Please note

We have been in full self-isolation since 16th March to protect my husband whose immune system is compromised.

If you are in self-isolation then join the Lib Dems in self-isolation Facebook group.

You can find my previous Isolation diaries here.


* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames where she is still very active with the local party.

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