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Tribal instinct

The human need to be part of a tribe is so apparent to me this year. It’s not just adults who yearn to be part of a community or support group. Our children have tribal instincts too. Child 1 was so upset to find out that their grassroots football training would be cancelled during national lockdown 2.0. Playing football on your own in a muddy rear garden isn’t anything as fun or inspiring as playing team sports with your friends during training sessions or matches in flood lit, astroturf luxury.

We’ve been trying to think of ways to replicate the tribal feel that comes with team sports for school aged kids. The best that we’ve come up with so far are to go for family bike rides and walks at the weekend, as well family twister sessions. However, I distinctly feel that this is a poor substitute for the enjoyment and camaraderie that our kids get from playing team sports with their friends and other peers.

In terms of exercising as adults, even before Covid emerged, Mr Stingyfit and I were increasingly finding ourselves exercising in isolation, fitting in solitary jogs or YouTube based TRX or pilates videos in between work calls and child caring duties from our garage ‘gym’. This has escalated further since the first national lockdown for obvious reasons. There is, however, loneliness to all of this and you have to really make an effort to exercise, especially when it is cold and wet outside or you’re simply exhausted from a day of working. There’s no one else to hold you accountable.

Some of our friends have continued with virtual yoga or fitness lessons with their pre-Covid teachers and I can certainly see the merit in this. Paying for lessons (albeit online) motivates you to turn up for lessons regularly and helps to make you accountable for exercising.

During lockdown 2.0, I’ve started going on some long local walks with one friend at a time, in line with current lockdown rules. (Pre-lockdown, such catch-ups would be typically restaurant or pub based.) For me, this is a cost effective and enjoyable way of catching up with friends whilst exercising. It’s certainly not intensive cardio exercise, but it is intensely mood boosting and healthy in so many other ways. Humans are, after all, designed to hunt in packs. Perhaps team sports are a way for us to feed that human tribal instinct.

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