Soon into lockdown, I was looking to find ways to vary my exercise regime. A regular session for me is about 30 minutes of various stretches for my spine, neck and shoulders, followed by vigorous bouncing on a gym ball whilst swinging my arms about wildly to increase my heart rate. Usually during this latter part of the exercise session, I am listening to music and keeping an eye on my heart rate and my target (specific number of steps). But this becomes rather tedious day in, day out.
I happened upon a “virtual treadmill run” around Dublin, a city I’ve visited a number of times. The video was produced by Dr Howey (Richard) who has a whole series of running films lasting about an hour. Pretty soon I was hooked!
Dr Howey’s runs have transported me to some stunningly beautiful places. Many of these are around the North East where he lives – somewhere I’m not familiar with. Along lengthy sandy beaches (Druridge Bay), the length of Hadrian’s Wall trail, Simonside Hills Trail. Exploring the towns of Morpeth and Alnwick – along rivers and through woodland.
I finish my exercise feeling as though I have been momentarily transported to these lovely places – running through fields of oil seed rape and amongst sheep and cows.
Richard has also run in Europe – Germany, Sorrento, Prague. Prague was one of my favourite “runs”. This is also a city I’ve visited, but as a wheelchair user, the cobbled streets were quite a challenge. Dr Howey’s run took me through the old town; this was an area we didn’t get to explore much because it is pretty inaccessible with lots of steps. I loved the feeling of running up a lengthy flight of stairs and actually found myself speeding up and getting more out of breath!
Somewhere I enjoyed but definitely not a place to visit as a wheelchair user was Pompeii! Not very accessible at all, but I enjoyed the trip there.
I have also competed in a number of races and fun runs – this is a completely new experience for me and not something I’m likely to participate in in the “real world”. I love seeing the other runners and I get that feeling of elation as I reach the finish line. I’ve done it!
These wonderful films have really brightened up my lockdown exercise experience. I felt I had to contact Dr Howey and let him know just how valuable his films had become to me. Plus I needed to find out how tall he was – this man seemed to be a giant!
In my next Blog post, I asked Richard to be a guest on my Blog – check back soon to find out more about his journey and our conversation around virtual treadmill running.