Thursday, 12 March 2020

Swimming in the time of corona

What to do?
Go out, go for a swim, a walk and mingle? Or stay put, exercise at home and uncouple?

This is my dilemma: I need to lose weight. Two years ago I became very unfit after a slipped disc rendered me less than mobile. Result: I piled on the pounds. And it became unhealthy. 

Over the last five months I’ve been cook and housekeeper while Richard has battled post-surgery depression. He’s lost two stone and I’ve been feeding him anything I can think of to restore that weight. Result: I’ve put on half a stone. And now we have to live with the threat of coronavirus. 

Tomorrow my plan was to walk, swim, shop, lunch and do a cinema trip with a couple of friends. But today’s Cobra meeting makes corona look beyond menacing. And tonight my bladder is playing up. Swimming tomorrow may not be ideal.

However experts from Singapore - writing in February when the virus was peaking there - say that if you don’t touch too many surfaces, have a good swim then shower and wend your way swimming is both good exercise and relatively safe in the time of corona: ‘Dr E tells us it's actually one of the safer activities to partake in. Coronaviruses spread by droplets, and in a swimming pool, they're completely washed off by the sheer amount of water. We don't know yet if chlorine [can kill off the virus] until they do tests, but yes, the water will negate the effects of the virus, so there’s no harm.’( 8 Days weekly e-newsletter). 

The gym, they and others say, is simply an oven of sweat that breeds germs - so stay away - and going to the cinema is risky if you’re sitting next to someone coughing and sneezing. 

I have to make my mind up. Like so many I have to balance the risk versus the benefit - in my case - of swimming. For others do they work or stay home and video conference? What about van drivers delivering food and medicines? They have to show up for work - presumably there is little choice. Same with nurses, pharmacists, doctors, carers, cleaners, fire service personnel, police, water board and sewerage workers, bin men, parole and prison officers, shopkeepers, electricians and the gas man. To name but a few.

Until today I imagined Britain would be semi paralysed until early May but the corona effects could, I gather, affect us for the next nine weeks: which brings us to May 21st. It so happens that we are invited to a country wedding then... in a marquee... in a field... in Cornwall. Let’s hope it’s not called off. But first pitch your tent, as mum used to say.

And back to now. If I don’t sleep properly tonight I won’t feel like a swim tomorrow and a walk may do me just as much good. Above all I need my rest while Richard is recovering and I’m keeping house. Immersing myself in fresh air and spring sunlight would be good - especially after weeks of rain.

What to do?
That’s a question for most of the world’s population - their governments and the WHO - for weeks and months to come, I fear. 

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