Heading to parkrun on a Saturday morning was one of the highlights of my week – especially the post-run brunch/coffee! It was a guaranteed catch up with friends with a 5k run thrown in for good measure.  Running for me has always been a huge social thing. With the current COVID-19 global pandemic happening – social sports have been cancelled. For the time being, we are all riding solo.To eliminate the spread of the virus an increasing number of people are quite rightly staying home. But, with modern technology, you don’t need to feel shut off from the world. There are tonnes of options to make the most of the social side of exercising! Digital fitness is becoming more and more popular. It can be accessed from anywhere and at any time – all you need is a decent Wi-Fi connection.

I live alone, in a rural area – so I feel like I’ve been ‘in training’ for social distancing all my life.

working out with friends digitally
Photo Credit: Jason Lock Photo

Here are my top tips for working out with friends digitally:

Running Apps: 

If you’re fit and well and showing no symptoms of coronavirus you can still also enjoy exercise outside (once a day) as long as you stick to the latest advice from the government and observe social distancing guidelines. Using a running app like Strava allows you and your friends to run solo and like, comment and give kudos to each other’s activities. So you could still do that Saturday morning 5k and check in with each other afterwards. There is even a leaderboard – should things start to get competitive!

Utilise Social Media:

You may feel alone working out stupidly early – but check out hashtags such #6amclub on Instagram and you’ll soon see you’re not the only one! It’s a great tool to check your friends’ workout activity and motivate each other. There are various ‘tag a friend’ challenges at the moment – which are a great way of staying connected with others. (Yes, I’m aware I have been tagged several times, but I’m yet to tackle those 10 press-ups!)

Go virtual:

If you are lucky enough to have a treadmill at home you can run virtually. Simply download Zwift to your iPad/device then pair up your Bluetooth-enabled foot pod. This allows you to run around virtual courses, surrounded by other virtual athletes. There is also a meet-up feature so you can race against your friends. For the keen cyclists among us, Peleton offers 90+ live-streamed workouts a week. From high fives to video chats, Peleton has built so many ways to keep you connected with other people during your workout.

Online streaming:

Another thing I took for granted – popping to a gym class with a friend. There are plenty of free workouts available via YouTube or online streaming – all you need is a decent Wi-Fi connection. From no-equipment sessions to yoga (Hotpod Yoga is offering live-streamed online classes), you can stream one through your TV and have your friends join you on Facetime. Even if it is just to make small talk to help take your mind off the squat reps!

It goes without saying, that being active and connecting with other people are great ways to improve your mental well-being. Times may be temporarily changing  – but we can learn to adapt.