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Health crisis causes health improvements in Zaragoza, Spain

COVID-19 has changed our lives in untold ways, with barely a person unaffected.

There have, however, been some positive outcomes from the ‘new normal’ as it forces people indoors to adapt their way of life revolving around work, family, diet and sport.

With many early doors reports of a surge in sofa osmosis, people turned to wine, Netflix and fast food to face the apocalypse. However, as the consequences of a ‘life indoors’ became apparent the outdoors suddenly gained a new appreciation from the masses.

In Zaragoza, Aragón the first easing of restrictions in phase 3 saw the streets fill with runners, people took to the desert paths surrounding the city to break in their new trainers courtesy of Amazon.

Valdesparteran local Juan Martinez said, “I saw people of all shapes and sizes from my balcony, I said to my wife this will kill more people than COVID.”

Local English teacher, Mark Smith commented “I fixed up my bike. I’m out of shape like, but what else am I going to do? Netflix is killing me.” He described a recent trip to sports store Decathlon “there was nothing left. I needed a few parts for the bike, but the whole section was empty. I was lucky enough to get one of the last three helmets. It’s pink and meant for women, but I’ll take the abuse to keep my melon safe. The staff told me there are no bikes left in Zaragoza!”

It has been a very prosperous time for the bike shops of Zaragoza, with stock almost entirely depleted and a waiting list for fixtures.

With concerns for the tourist industry during the COVID Summer of 2020, there are mixed responses to the explosion in domestic tourism. Although it is a welcome boost to the economy, it does also imply a further potential for the virus to spread.

Nonetheless, the Pyrenees have seen a great surge in activity as the Montaña Segura campaign conducts its annual survey across 11 points in the Pyrenees and Sierra de Guara.

The Gran Trail Trangworld Aneto-Posets, a 105km mountain trail marathon postponed its 8th edition to 2021 like so many other outdoor events this summer.

Despite the absence of this crowd, the survey, taking place at the foot of Aneto last week, interviewed 57 groups and 203 people in just one day of the 60 day survey. Although the data is not yet complete, it is expected that in the current circumstances more people will be attracted to trek in this area, despite it being considered a ‘black point’ due to the difficulties in scaling the surface and the necessity of professional equipment.

The 2019 data, with just 135 groups interviewed, demonstrated that 21% had never climbed a peak of 3,000 metres before; 26% wore unsuitable shoes; 34% were without an essential ice pick and only 17% wore a helmet.

We can only guess at the statistics surrounding the Summer of COVID surge. Will the outdoor revolution create a generation of super-athletes or an avalanche of twisted ankles?


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