COGS in Lockdown & New Ways to be Active – August 2020.

With no football training or matches for the last 4 months, due to Covid-19 and Lockdown, our COGS had to find new ways to stay active.  With many never having run before (apart from on the pitch), there were a few challenges to run a 5K.  Some hadn’t been on a bike in a long time either and others hadn’t been active for years before coming to COGS.  Keepy uppy challenges, virtual PT sessions, football activities, as well as long country walks and even digging up trees became the norm.

The beginning of Lockdown seems a long way away now and hard to believe that we were only allowed out of the house for just an hour, to exercise!

Keeping active is important for our mental health and physical health (especially for those going through the menopause as well) and it has been difficult, at times, for some.  For the month of May, over 30 of our COGS took part in the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation challenge #100KinMay and many have said that this kept them motivated to be active.  Running, walking and cycling as many Kms as possible throughout May certainly focused the mind on being active.  Below, some of our COGS tell their stories of how they’ve coped without playing football, during Lockdown.

Tracey (51), has been keeping active by running every day, motivated by her husband Ross, and Sundays were saved for some football fun.  Here Tracey describes how she kept up her football activity.

Sunday is Football Fun Day!

My husband Ross knew how much I was missing COGS so when he suggested we have a kickabout I jumped at the chance. We are lucky enough to live very near to Northgate Playing Fields, so every Sunday we play for an hour or two. It has helped us both to keep fit & more importantly we have a good laugh together. I have worked on my long passing, turns and strengthening my non-dominant foot. Ross’s favourite part of the session is trying to lob me during goalie practice. (Ross is a foot taller than me). I did confuse him at the start when I shouted out the names of other COGS when I pretended to pass to them but Ross has got used to me calling him Gillian or Sandra now! There is something about kicking a football that gives me a feeling of great joy, and it is the best stress release I know, both very welcomed during the uncertainty of lockdown.

Louise (46) has made the most of Lockdown!

My journey through Lockdown – by Louise Camby

I have loved Lockdown. The pandemic provided the pause I needed to slow down and relax and catch up with my long To Do list.  I’ve pressure washed patios, painted walls, door and upcycled furniture, fixed things, cleared out, transferred some of my business work online, caught up with admin and accounts, attended many online networking events, created presentations for my public speaking engagements and on a personal note I’ve been exercising and relaxing every day.

I started running at the beginning of Lockdown having never ran 50 yards before. By early May I reached my first target of running 1 mile consistently which felt such an achievement. And in June I achieved running 2 miles consistently. I then treated myself to proper running shoes and gave myself a target for July to run 26.2 miles throughout the whole month. I’m on target to complete this.  I’ve enjoyed cycling every other day on either my road or mountain bike, and enjoyed some long walks – all social distanced with a local friend who has shown me so much of the local area I had never seen before. It’s been great spending more time amongst nature and enjoy many beautiful views and sunsets.

I also (with the help from a fellow COG and great friend Rebecca Holloway) erected my 12 x 6 goal and have enjoyed shooting practice and keepie uppies.  I’ve had time to chill out, enjoyed candle lit baths with champagne cocktails, meditations, watched more Netflix than ever before and enjoyed online yoga, quizzes and social events with friends and family on zoom. Alongside all this I’ve been project managing our kitchen extension which has been very exciting.  It is great that we can now meet up with friends and enjoy drinking, dining, outdoor drive in movies and football training together again.

Sarah (62) has so much energy and tenacity, a few (11) tree roots weren’t going to stop her from clearing her garden!

My lockdown story:

I had to do 14 days of quarantine having taken an early holiday in France*.   But I had my quarantine plan….I dug up 11 tree roots (left from overgrown leylandii that were felled a year ago) using a fork, a spade an axe and brute force.

Of course, I could have waited to get someone with a machine to come and do it, but what else did I have to do for 14 days confined to my house and garden?

Not sure if this inspires other than to say that, if you put your mind to something, and ignore the doubters (my husband) who just laugh every time they see you out there battling away, you can achieve.  It took me exactly 13 days to dig them all up and make good the soil afterwards.  So 1 day of rest.

I was a bit more self-conscious about practising football skill so never really progressed with the keepy ups etc.but at least my upper body strength should have improved.

*We gambled on the travel corridors being in place by the time we returned.  In fact, we returned knowing that the corridors would be established exactly 14 days after our return. Lose- lose – 14 days of quarantine by any measure.  We had a lovely time in France, lots of cycling.

Gillian (57) tells us how she got fitter, and stronger, during Lockdown.

During lockdown I was keen to get fitter having left my job just before it started. I downloaded an app to record how long and how far I walked. I found having a podcast to listen to immensely helpful in pushing me on.  I have made full use of our exercise bike, and am surprised by how many kilometres I can do in one sitting-again made easier if I can chat to someone or listen to a podcast at the same time! I hope eventually to do an exercise bike marathon and raise money for a charity.

I tried to learn to do keepy uppies  having been inspired by Carol but I only got to 7 max. However it was good exercise!  I have been doing on line dance classes joined by sister who lives in Scotland, so we see each other too!  What I am most pleased about is that having had an intermittent arm/shoulder problem I wanted to build my strength. So I decided to try and do half press ups – where all the weight is on your arms. I am now able to do 50 easily, 10 was a struggle to begin with!
I can now pick up my grandson with ease, and I am (very) slightly more toned. And with any luck if I can continue I will have a six pack by the time I am 60!!!!  I feel really aware of the positive impact exercise can have not just on your fitness but on your mental health too. But you have to feel motivated enough to start, and I think it’s about finding something you can enjoy and sustain, starting out small and then just improving gradually.

Claire (46) has REALLY ended up challenging herself! 

“At the beginning of lockdown I thought this is great I’m working from home, no travelling to the office, but then it dawned on me – WHAT NO Football or Walking Football, this was going to be a disaster, and then I was furloughed and suddenly I felt a huge low as my work and football families were no longer in arms reach. So instead of getting myself into a deep hole of being miserable I found I had time to spend with my son on his Chelsea assignments, and support in his SAT’s for the US  when he departs for his football adventures in 2021, but there was still something missing, I needed something for me.

I picked myself up and decided to challenge myself with getting back into running and working out using an online program called Team Body Project. I challenged myself to some virtual runs completing 50 miles across the month of June and achieved 55 miles. I went on to complete a 5k buddy run with a friend (social distancing of course) and I’ve signed up for 2 more 10k runs. But I thought why stop there Claire, go and really challenge yourself, so I signed up for the Lands end to John O Groats run, a whopping 874 miles to complete over a 12 month period, crazy? YEP! but running 3/4 times a week to keep my Mental Well Being intact has been a huge help to keep me sane, and I get some very nice bling at the end of each challenge.

For all those thinking of running, you don’t have to be fast and you don’t have to do long distance, you can run / walk whatever is comfortable for you, so give it a go, and if you need run buddies get your pals together or find a run club like I did a couple of years ago – all the fitness helps for when we get kicking the ball into the goals (not at each other lol) and running round the pitch”

Mel (51) had never run or cycled regularly before but now you can’t stop her! 

Since Lockdown, I have started cycling on a regular basis and have now clocked up over 600km since April.  I’ve enjoyed it so much that I cycled from Crawley to Brighton for the first time!  It took about 2 1/2 hours but with a few pub stops along the way, so it was a great route! I now sometimes just cycle to Brighton for a change of scenery!  I’ve also managed to start running and completed my first 5k in one go.  I also enjoyed taking part in the #100KinMay where I was running and cycling regularly.

Who even am I??? 🤣

Pauline (61) not only walked miles but lost a stone in weight too! 

Lockdown began.  I have had 3 holidays cancelled, been working 5 mornings a week and only taken 2 days off over the period – feeling exhausted.  Weather has helped because I have walked to work and home again every day and walked the dog on weekends (doing over 200k just in May) together with healthy eating I have lost a stone in weight.  I tried the keepy uppy challenge and managed to get to 10, it was hard going so decided to stop there.  I have been zooming with my Cubs and Beavers.

Finally, Carol (hanging on to 53 for a few more days!) challenged herself to do 20 keepy uppies.

It took 5 weeks and many hours most days to even get to grips with learning to do keepy uppies but finally from 0-25 actually happened in between, somehow, going viral and lots of encouragement….

In June, the Government Guidelines changed so you could meet up with 6 members of different households outside, so that was the catalyst to arranging small groups together at local parks for some football fun.  4 locations were set up around Crawley and it kept everyone going, especially as the weather has been so nice!  A few mishaps and a “You’ve Been Framed” moment from Sandra Rees just proves that 1) You’re never too old to have fun and 2) watch out for those blades of grass in case you trip over!   Here’s the video:

Here are a few photos from those fun sessions held in Furnace Green, Ifield, Northgate and Pound Hill and some shooting practice.


Some long range, social distancing shooting practice.


We’ll soon be back to our normal sessions, so keep an eye out on our social media and if you haven’t played before, be inspired by these women, who hadn’t played either before they came to COGS!