Physically fit – Richie Stephens returns to gymnastics roots | Entertainment

Celebrated reggae music ambassador, singer and songwriter Richie Stephens has been pulling on some of his youthful physical routines such as gymnastics to help him get through the COVID pandemic.

Stephens and many entertainers have not been fully engaged since the pandemic hit more than a year ago, resulting in widespread dislocation in the industry.

With time on his hands, and the desire to remain fit, the 54-year-old, Savanna-la-Mar-born artiste has rekindled his youthful passion for agility and acrobatics, which, for the most part, were sidelined for some time.

“Throughout my teenage life into my 20s to 30s, I was very active and always into physical fitness from riding my unicycle to doing back flips and somersaults,” he told THE STAR. “However, when I reached a certain age, about 21 years old, that’s when I got a break in the music business. Then with my music life and the busy schedule, I started doing less and less gymnastics, even though I still keep up with exercises.”

By the time he approached his 40s, Stephens said that he had stopped thinking about practising gymnastics routines, which he said were inspired by what he and his friends saw in action movies.

“In my community, you had to be physically fit or else the girls don’t see you at all; that’s what introduced me to fitness originally. You either had to play football or cricket, and you have to can dance. I myself used to be in a dance group, and what [created] the edge is we started with gymnastics. Even while we weren’t trained formally, half the things we tried were a big risk, but it was always done right. Luckily, I never saw anything bad happening to any of my friends or me.”

The downtime presented by the COVID-19 pandemic has made it easier for him to challenge himself to reconnect with his youthful passion.

“I started practising my handstand and said to myself, ‘I’d love to do a back flip again’,” Stephens shared, adding that he had not done a back flip since 1989 or 1990.

“But after one session in training, it came right back to me. That’s the one my fans would have seen me post online last week”.

While COVID-19 has resulted in significant upheaval, the Winner singer-songwriter has found some good in his current circumstances.

“There is some good in it as well because when the COVID-19 strike, I decided, alright, I’m not going to sit here and frustrate myself. I’m just going to keep the frustration away and give me a sense of purpose. So, I’m training for life,” he said.

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