Making exercise fun – virtual running

Every day as part of my daily exercise routine, I do around 40 minutes of vigorous bouncing on my gym ball.  I find it difficult and painful to weight bear for any great length of time because of my disability and my damaged ankle so once I’ve done my stretches and warm up exercises, I bounce away to raise my heart rate.

Usually I’ll take that time to look out of the window, watch people walking by on their way to work or school.  I’ll watch the cars driving past and note with some amusement whether someone is running rate, or whether that yellow Aygo that passes at 8.30am has been washed yet.

The scene outside my window has changed and there’s less to see.  I love watching the birds nesting in the hedge opposite, the red kites wheeling in the sky above.

But now I’ve discovered “virtual running”!  I used You Tube to look up virtual treadmill runs and have found a whole new world (literally!)  I can run in Rome, Paris, London, Prague and even Singapore.

I’ve run a 10k in Durham – which was incredible – I really did feel as though I have been a participant as I overtook the runners ahead of me in the field and as I saw runners slowing down to a walk.  The feeling as I passed the finish line may not have been quite the same as the person who was doing the filming, but I held him in awe as I realise that he’d run in one session what had taken me over two days (2 hours) of bouncing on my ball.

As well as achieving my cardiac workout, I’m enjoying my tour of the world, seeing cities filled with tourists taking in the famous landmarks and sights.

Best of all, the “runner” climbs steep flights of steps to I get to see parts of the city that I may have struggled to access from my powered wheelchair.  That was certainly the case for my run around Prague where I enjoyed seeing parts of the old town that I didn’t see when we visited many years ago.

It wasn’t as cold either…..  Prague in February is very, VERY cold!

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