Doesn’t it make you feel good that even when the chips are down, some people have a natural gift to make those around them feel better? Our Creative Director, Simon Garner, is certainly one of those! A keen runner and cyclist (he’s completed over 50 marathons, run across Kenya and the Nepalese mountains, walked the Great Wall of China and the Sahara desert, climbed Kilimanjaro and cycled across Madagascar for charity), Simon has started twice-weekly motivation and movement sessions… from his very own doorstep.
Although not a trained fitness instructor, when the UK’s highly necessary Coronavirus ‘lockdown’ began, healthy living enthusiast Simon wanted to do something positive to bring a little cheer to his corner of South London. With the focus on spreading some much needed joy during this national slow down, he started his 30-minute body-weight exercise ‘class’ for residents on the Georgian square where he lives in Kennington. In Simon’s words, “Crazy times call for kind actions…” so he is bringing together his whole community every Wednesday and Saturday morning. Spanning all backgrounds and all ages - from children and students to the retired and elderly – his fun combination of aerobics and stretching is keeping everyone on their toes… and lifting spirits too.
With social distancing a priority for everyone right now, these On The Doorstep fitness sessions are taken at distances of two metres, with residents standing out on their porches or on opposite sides of the pavements. With everyone having to stay at home at the moment (aside from essential trips for groceries, medical needs, one form of exercise or travel to work, if you cannot work from home), no specialist fitness equipment is needed; Simon utilises everyday household objects such as tins of beans, brooms and wooden spoons as weights or props. He’s keen for everyone to “stay home, stay safe, stay smiling” so his fun-filled half hour is fuelled by a lively, rousing soundtrack and has been so popular that Simon has plans to stream them via Instagram Live in the near future.
His enthusiasm is infectious, as seen by the amazing response he’s had from the media, with features online at www.timeout.com, www.dailymail.co.uk, www.uk.news.yahoo.com and www.real-fix.com as well as this one in The Independent last Thursday 2ndApril @https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/coronavirus-simone-garner-neighbours-london-workout-doorstep-fitness-class-instagram-a9439861.html
Take it from us: Simon’s positivity is infections – anyone who’s sat with him in a meeting knows that! Everyone is so proud of him here at Slow Ageing and you can check out videos and inspirational photos from his twice-weekly workouts on Instagram via his handles @simonggarner and @onthe.step.
Did You Know? As well as bringing his local community together is a safe and responsible way, Simon’s motivational workouts also trigger the release of a dynamic duo of endorphins, or ‘feel good’ hormones, that are essential for wellbeing, especially at the moment when it’s all too easy to slip into lethargy and feel powerless:
- Serotonin – sometimes called the ‘happy chemical’ – is a neurotransmitter that helps maintain natural mood balance, encouraging us to feel of value and importance. The precursor for melatonin, it also assists in the regulation of our bodies’ sleep/wake cycles, as well as our internal ‘body clocks’.
- Dopamine – also thought of as the ‘achievement hormone’ – is another one of our brain's ‘feel good’ chemicals and plays an important role in how happy we feel, as well as affecting memory and concentration levels.
Slow Journal… Slow Journal… Slow Journal… Slow Journal… Slow Journal…
We hope you are enjoying our new Slow Journal entries. This platform is designed to seek out and share all those seeds of joy our Slow Ageing team comes across, focusing on the positives that can be found right now - looking at what we ‘can do’ rather than what we ‘cannot’! We will be regularly highlighting feel good stories like Simon’s on both our Instagram account and here in our Slow Society… keep an eye out for more soon.