Walking

For many families, the coronavirus lockdown has meant walking in a different direction.

Paralympian and Active Travel Commissioner for the Sheffield City Region, Dame Sarah Storey, tells us what opportunities this has created for her household.

Dame Sarah Storey


We have always been a family that chooses two feet or two wheels over jumping in the car, so we feel fortunate that although we would normally have spent some time away for training and racing in the past three weeks, our daily life at home isn’t too drastically different to our life outside of lockdown.

This has certainly helped the children adjust to life without swimming lessons and tennis club, replacing that energy expenditure with nature walks, bike rides and a chance to explore Lyme Park, which is right on our doorstep. 

My training has always been from home as well, with only a handful of sessions each year down at the Manchester Velodrome, so during lockdown I have been using my daily exercise to ride my bike. Although I have found that I am using the static trainer more often so that I can save my daily exercise slot to spend it as a family. 

Our days now include schoolwork at home, playing in the garden when the weather is nice and different art or baking projects.

For me, not having to travel to meetings in my role as Sheffield City Region’s Active Travel Commissioner around my training schedule means I’ve managed to get to speak to more people.

It’s been a productive time, albeit one where I have been conscious I don’t forget to get dressed in a morning!

My husband Barney has had type 1 diabetes since the age of four and so falls in to the vulnerable person category. We have to pay particular attention to ensuring he isn’t at risk of picking up the virus, so the job of shopping falls to me.  

Like anyone, the anxiety around staying safe is particularly high when I am on my weekly trip to the supermarket to collect the essentials.

Our local village is a 15-minute walk, so I can pick up supplies in between if there’s been no milk or bread at the big shop and we have a regular order in with our butcher to make sure the freezer is stocked for ten days or so at a time. 

I have used this time to focus on the joys of where we live. Walking from home has been one of the great privileges we have had more time to do.

Dame Sarah Storey

Familiar challenges

I first met Barney when I was a swimmer back in 2004 and the infection-control measures everyone has been requested to adopt are habits we had drilled into us as athletes.

Correct hand-washing technique, not touching your face and being aware of whether or not you are touching communal surfaces that could be contaminated with a bug, are behaviours we have always followed.

Losing training time to illness or picking up a bug ahead of a major competition is something we have always been very aware of avoiding.

I’ve had people comment on how they now understand why I was always so careful with hand hygiene. 

I’ve always been someone who tries to look for the positives in a situation and so have definitely used this time to focus on the joys of where we live, which is also where I grew up as a child.

Walking from home has been one of the great privileges we have had more time to do. 

 

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