A keen runner, 73-year-old Rajinder Singh was initially at a loss as to how he was going to keep fit with Britain under lockdown.
Missing his weekly Park Run – an organized five kilometer run held every Saturday – necessity proved the mother of invention for Singh as he turned his attention to skipping.
“I’m not an expert but if you do five minute skipping honestly it’s like like running three kilometers. Just skipping inside your house or in your garden. You don’t even need trainers, just a rope,” Singh, who has been dubbed “the skipping Sikh” on social media, told CNN Sport.
Singh has been posting daily videos of his workouts online to encourage others to keep active during the lockdown and skipping isn’t his only exercise fix.
He’s also been working on his strength and conditioning by lifting heavy watering cans and sprinting through his allotment.
His aim is to inspire and teach people of all ages, faiths and abilities techniques to stay fit during the coronavirus pandemic and he’s urged others to post similar videos.
With the help of his daughter, he’s also set up a fundraising initiative that hopes to raise money for the British National Health Service (NHS).
“It is brilliant, no one can compare with the NHS. I wish other countries would follow the NHS. I am very thankful to them, we must try our best to help them as well,” he said.
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‘Help others and help yourself’
Singh, who lives in Berkshire in southern England, is very conscious of the UK government’s instruction to stay at home.
“We can’t go openly where we usually go for running. We can’t get together so we have to do it in the house and obey the law,” he said. “Help others and help yourself by not spreading this thing.”
Producing these short videos has also allowed Singh to combine two of his passions; sport and helping others.
He’s determined to continue posting tutorials on his social media channels to provide people across the world with some respite from these unprecedented and worrying times.
“As long as I can help this country or other people, I will carry on. That is my principle. I love doing this kind of thing, helping and volunteering, this is in my blood,” he said.
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Singh’s love of skipping was sparked by his father many years ago and he now wants to be a role model to others in his community.
Sikh temples, like all places of worship, have been forced to close down during the lockdown resulting in members of Singh’s close-knit community becoming isolated.
Staying connected with his friends and family during this “very difficult” time was partly the reason for starting his initiative. He’s also been inspired by 99-year-old war veteran Tom Moore.
‘Captain Tom’, as he’s become known, has raised over $23 million for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden.
The pair had the opportunity to speak to one another recently and Singh was keen to praise his counterpart for his efforts.
“He reminds me of my elder brother or my father. He reminds me of the army,” said Singh, whose father was a military man.
“I was so grateful when I saw this gentleman doing this for a good cause, for the NHS. I hope to see him one day and I wish to walk with him.”