Most governments, perhaps excluding the USA, have been at pains to emphasize their adherence to medical advice. Who can blame the politicos for wanting to avoid taking the blame for thousands of deaths and a destroyed economy! But my personal experience is that “unquestioning adherence to medical advice” is a slippery slope on which we should take great care.
In Ireland all the over 70s are locked down in what is referred to as cocooning. Basically you stay home. Period. You don’t do out except to your garden. Your groceries and medications and other essentials must be delivered. My wife and I are early/mid seventies. Prior to the lockdown we were pretty fit, walking regularly with a pretty full diary of activities. But we accepted the guidance and stayed home. Like many, we anticipated the lockdown by a couple of weeks and therefore we have been “at home” for nearly eight weeks. Hasn’t been a problem; our neighbours have been great helping with the shopping; pharmacies have delivered medicine. And while in the early days it was hard to get grocery deliveries because of the demand, recently the Tescos supermarket has opened up lots of delivery slots for over 65s, so we are sorted. And we have kept ourselves pretty busy with voluntary work that can be done remotely, online classes, gardening, patchwork quilting (not me) art, reading etc.
Before the lockdown we were both walking very regularly. Up to two hours a few times a week. And I would often go out in the early morning and do a 40 minute local loop. However when the lockdown happened the walking stopped; I continued my Ashtanga Yoga, which is actually heavy stuff, but not the same level of cardio vascular exercise as say walking.
Last weekend the lockdown was eased – we were allowed to take short local walks, so I started walking. The first time out I did 40 minutes easy. Felt really good. The next day I did the same and my legs were killing me. Strangely the pain wasn’t the normal muscular pain; sharp stabbing pains in the back and then front of the leg. In the evening when I go home I had occasion to get up suddenly from a sofa. And I felt really dizzy, which for me is very unusual. Blood pressure 100/65! Which is low. Sounds like circulation issues! So I took a day off walking. Over the next few days I gingerly recommenced walking. By the end of the week I am doing between 30 and 60 minutes a day. I will extend gently and figure it will take a complete month to get back to my previous level of fitness.
I now have a healthy scepticism regarding medical advice. I really felt I wanted to comply with the restrictions because it’s so easy for every individual to reinvent the advice for their own situation. And that’s the road to hell for the country. But in future I’m more inclined to put my own health first and then figure out how I remain in compliance at least in spirit if not to the letter.