‘Go on, it’ll be fun’ they said…

Thoughts from a technologically challenged physio running a virtual exercise group for stroke survivors during lockdown 

Jayne Steadman Director at JLinks Physiotherapy

Can you hear me? 

Using Zoom was pretty straightforward. Unless, that is, no-one can hear you. ‘Unmute’ I hear you cry – but no amount of toggling between mute and unmute helps when it transpires you have muted the volume on your computer because it was ‘dinging’ and annoying. One of the group users had to telephone me and point this out. Styled it out and pretended it was my wifi. 

Herding cats 

I once had to assemble some geriatricians for a meeting. Our first class was similar. People joined with no video or audio, or no audio so I had to shout down the phone simultaneously. Sense of time has changed since we are in lockdown. 10.30am means different things to different people. Apparently. 

Room with a view 

As we start I can usually see foreheads, stomachs and on one memorable occasion I was treated to a cat’s bottom as his owner exercised using a tin of Whiskas. 

One size fits all 

How do you make a virtual class enjoyable and safe for all? The key is to work them hard enough so they keep quiet. If they aren’t talking then they might just be focused enough for us all to get to the end in one piece. 

Mute or not to mute? 

I didn’t want to mute so I could monitor what was happening but this just encouraged them to talk about me. Mute ON!! 

Getting better 

Easy gig, I thought. Turn up, hide the wine glass, do some exercises and back to Netflix. Problem is, they are keen. Strength and speed is improving and this is getting challenging. 10 X sit to stand in under a minute. Gonna have to raise my game. 

Onwards and upwards? 

People want to continue. They don’t need transport and can have the kettle on within moments of finishing. I explained sweetly that I will have a day job to do then and they replied, equally sweetly, well you can do it in the evening then.  

  • Jayne Steadman is a director at JLinks Physiotherapy 

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