When I was diagnosed with HIV, I was absolutely determined not to let it stop me from living life to the full. Despite huge advances in HIV treatment, public perceptions of HIV are still stubbornly stuck in the past. That desire to show I am just as fit and healthy as anyone else is what has spurred me on to where I am today.
I did a spinning instructor qualification, then went on to qualify as a personal trainer and a run leader. Helping people to achieve their goals and show that fitness can be for anyone is such an amazing feeling.
In the past seven years since I received my diagnosis, I’ve taken on cycling, running and other fitness challenges – not once did HIV hold me back. Taking on these challenges has helped make me stronger, both physically and mentally.
Alongside my full-time job, I’m really proud to have established my own personal training business. However, like everyone else, I’ve had to change how I go about my day-to-day routine. But I’m not letting it stop me supporting people to keep active! I’ve switched from teaching in a studio to now delivering online classes.
That’s what inspired me to do what I can to get more people active. It’s a really unsettling time for everyone just now, especially for people living with HIV. We are twice as likely to experience poor mental health, with women in particular impacted by rejection and discrimination.
The advances in HIV treatment have been nothing short of revolutionary. I take my medication once a day, meaning I can live a normal and healthy life. However, it’s really important to recognise that for people who have been living with HIV for a long time, many will have underlying health problems, which can have a real impact on day-to-day activities. This has resulted in a small number of people living with HIV being advised to self-isolate for three months, due to increased risk from coronavirus. So when it comes to exercise and getting moving, it’s about finding the right level and option for you.
I want to play my part and support other people living with HIV to stay healthy and active during lockdown, whatever your ability. I’ve put together this quick and easy fitness routine that can be done in the garden, garage or even living room! They are designed to help build muscle and I promise if you stick with them, you’ll feel great.
Indoor/outdoor bodyweight circuit
Here’s my suggested workout – remember only do what you can and drink plenty of water throughout.
- Push-ups: 8-20 reps
- Squats: 10-20 reps
- Plank: 15-60 seconds
- Jog on spot/run: 60 seconds
Depending on your fitness level, you can repeat for 10-25 minutes and take any rest breaks when you need to.
Push-ups (incline, kneeling or standing)
- Elbows go behind, not out to the side.
- Keep body in a straight line.
- Don’t let hips drop.
Performing fewer push-ups with correct form will be better over time than completing many with poor form. Start with an incline for support and progress to the floor.
- Arms out in front or across chest.
- Track knees with toes as you descend.
- Touch box/bench gently with hips.
- Press through heels when standing up.
- Don’t lean forward.
To progress you can remove the box/bench and hold for two seconds at the bottom and stand up or use a dumbbell or kettlebell.
- Feet and forearms touch ground.
- Body in straight line.
- Elbows under shoulders.
- Head looking down.
- Contract the quads and glutes.
- Don’t let hips sag or bow up into V shape.
You can alter your foot position to wider to make it easier or narrower to make it harder. You can progress this to a straight-arm plank, by elevating your feet onto a bench or chair or adding weight to your back e.g. rucksack or a weighted vest or plate.