FEATURE: Letshego Zulu on fitness under lockdown

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Creatives Under COVID-19 Lockdown is a SABC feature which focuses on the impact of coronavirus on the lives of creatives. This week, fitness guru Letshego Zulu gives tips on how to remain physically active during lockdown.


Fitness guru Letshego Zulu on how to remain physically active under lockdown. Instagram@letshego.zulu

The novel coronavirus pandemic has changed our way of life. Most people are spending more time at home while others have limited movement under stringent lockdown regulations. Creatives are no different.

To help deal with the effect of the virus, the World Health Organisation advises people to remain physically active. According to the organisation regular physical activity helps to manage conditions such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancers which increase susceptibility to coronavirus.

Physical activity as mental exercise

While others have their fitness regimes worked out, others do not know where to begin. For the latter, fitness guru Letshego Zulu says they need to understand that structured exercise is not the only way to keep healthy.

“Physical activity is not only the jumping up and down, the push-ups, the lunges and the squats and all of that. Even something as simple as cleaning the house is exercise if you do it in a clever way. Gardening is a form of physical activity, washing your car is a form of physical activity, running around with the kids, if you have any kids, out in the garden or playing a game with them is physical activity.”

Zulu, who is also an entrepreneur, says although the virus has had a negative impact in many areas of life, there are some positive consequences. “The good thing about the physical side of the business and the effect of this coronavirus period is that the constant daily exercises help people cope with this. It is one of the coping mechanisms that people are seeing, you know.

“If you are exercising and moving daily, you start thinking a lot clearer. So people are receptive to the exercise side of things.”

Adaptive business outlook

Since the beginning of the lockdown, Zulu and her business partner, Khethiwe Mlangeni, have been offering free fitness classes through their Pop-Up Gym social media pages. The current situation has changed how they conduct their business.

“Not many people are used to having their trainer in the living room on their laptop. They are used to seeing their trainer and having that physical training. So, it is re-introduction to our clients but some of them are very open-minded with the idea because they realise that this thing is not going to go away overnight. You know, either you catch the boat or you miss it completely.”

Dealing with grief 
As governments continue to focus on the fight against the virus, many people are mourning the loss of their loved ones who have succumbed to it. More than 295 000 people worldwide have so far died from the virus. Dealing with grief is something that Zulu had to face when she lost her husband, racing champion Gugu Zulu, in 2016.

In her book “I choose to live: Life after losing Gugu,” Letshego details how she along with two guides and her husband strapped to a crude metal stretcher ran down Mount Kilimanjaro to get him help. Zulu felt compelled to tell the story because” sharing is caring,” she explains.

The book is not only about Gugu’s death. “It is actually more about how to face life’s challenges because we are faced with challenges on a daily basis from yes, loved ones passing away, but there are many other challenges that we face like people losing their jobs, people losing their homes and their cars and the book is really life lessons on how to face the myriad of challenges that we face on a daily basis.”

Zulu’s life story of overcoming adversity is more relevant now as we battle challenges posed by the pandemic.



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The clock never stops ticking when tragedy strikes or when life’s multitude of challenges cause speed wobbles in our lives. It’s the art of picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and trying again that matters most. . Thank you @leandriwillis for sharing your thoughts on @ichoosetolivelzulu . . #Repost @leandriwillis (@get_repost) ・・・ “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.“ -TEARS ROLLING DOWN MY CHEEK- WHAT AN INCREDIBLE BOOK!! From the first time I walked into your home, seeing the beautiful photos of you and gugs on the wall, i could feel the love! Showing me your Kili summiting videos, explaining to me how slowly you had to walk, reading all the letters for Lelethu, you are such an inspiration!! Thank you for sharing the story, that unforgettable night and experience with the world!! We will continue to follow your journey! @letshego.zulu “I know that everything God does will endure forever, nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so people will fear him.” Ecclesiastes 3

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Interesting facts about Letshego Zulu

Q: Who was your role model growing up?

A: Definitely my mom and my grandmother as well. They are two very strong, focused women and when it comes specifically to what has happened in my life over the past four years, they are the two people that I have drawn a lot of strength and resilience from because they themselves experienced what I experienced. My dad passed away when I was about two-years-old. My mom’s dad died when she was about five-years-old. So the three of us, my mom, daughter and myself having lost our fathers before we even turned six and just watching how my mom and grandmother have grabbed life by the horns and have lived unapologetically so, they are definitely my two role models.

Q: You are a mother to Lelethu. What have you learnt about yourself through motherhood?

A: I have learnt that I am very patient because you really have to be a patient person when you are bringing up a little person, especially as a single mother. I have learnt that I have more patience than I thought and resilience as well. The resilience I think I learnt from having lost a partner and having to now pick up the pieces, become a single parent and raise this little person on my own.

Q: You are the runner-up of the show, Survivor South Africa Maldives. How was that experience?

A: It still goes down in my books as one of the most challenging experiences that I ever underwent, purely because you are stripped away from the norm, stripped from life’s basic luxuries. I never thought I’d call a toothbrush a life’s luxury. But it is a basic luxury because some people don’t have a basic toothbrush and roll-on. For me, the biggest life lesson that I learnt from that is that when you wake up every single day and you have a roof over your head and you have got a car that you can jump into to go to the grocery store, count yourself lucky.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: I go out for a run or go for a cycle. I am one of the people that is very critical of themselves. I get dressed in front of the mirror every single day and that is the one thing that gets me to just keep enjoying this health and fitness life. A lot of people look at this cycling, running and these outdoors, adventure sport as a challenge or a chore. For me, cycling and running are like travelling on daily, because you are running through different neighbourhoods, cycling through different neighbourhoods. It is part of opening one’s eyes.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to?
A: I am a very old soul when it comes to music and I think that really comes from years of travelling and driving long distances with my mom. I will give you an example, when we’re living in the Eastern Cape and home is in Mafikeng which is in the North West, mom and I used to drive all that way. So you can imagine, we are listening to music right through those 12-14 hours of driving. So, my mom’s taste in music is what infiltrated me from a very young age. I am the girl that would listen to the likes of Kenny G, The Spinners, The O’Jays. So all the old-time of music.

Related : Part 1 :Starving artist’ a more meaningful phrase amid lockdown

Related : Part 2: ‘I don’t know myself outside my world of acting’