Four RBC Olympians share their tips on staying fit, taking care of mental wellness, and maintaining focus during difficult times.
Maintaining a Healthy Diet at Home
Keely Shaw is a Para Cyclist on Team Canada and is currently pursuing a PhD in Exercise Physiology and Sport Nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan.
During the quarantine, one change you might not have expected is a change in your dietary habits. The fridge is always so close at home you may find yourself eating more frequently due to a variety of reasons such as stress, boredom, or simply convenience. This may make it hard to stick to your regular eating habits. Here are some tips to help you stay on track during the current Covid-19 quarantine:
- Be Prepared. Sit down and make a meal plan for the week (or even just the day ahead). Pre-planning may help you stick to a healthy plan.
- Meal Prep. Make meals and snacks ahead of time and portion them in individual serving containers to help with portion control.
- Keep your Hydration High. Aim for a minimum of eight cups of water a day. Try flavoured (or plain) sparkling water. The carbonation may help you feel fuller and give you a break from regular water.
- Try to get some physical activity each day. Stream free pilates or yoga classes, go for a walk, or do a simple bodyweight workout (see below for ideas).
- Before you snack, ask yourself, “Am I hungry or bored/lonely?” If the answer is bored/lonely, try connecting with a friend via phone or a social/videoconferencing app. Now is the time to use your FaceTime, Skype, Zoom or other apps to connect to friends, family and your support network.*
Free tips from RBC Olympian Keely Shaw for eating healthy at home
*Please keep in mind that these are only general recommendations. Reach out to a registered dietitian for advice to meet your specific needs.
Fueling Your Mental Health
Samantha Stewart is a Team Canada Wrestler and Tokyo 2021 Olympic hopeful, with an MEd in Counselling from the University of New Brunswick.
RBC Olympian Natasha Fox, Wrestling, is a Saskatoon-based teacher currently teaching grades 1 and 2 from home during the COVID-19 school shutdown.
Nutrition and fitness culture have taught athletes a lot about ways to help support physical health, but it’s important to take as much care in feeding mental health.
Here are Stewart and Fox’s three ways to help you stay emotionally & mentally healthy during the pandemic.
- Stay Positive.
“It is normal to feel anxious and confused right now,” Stewart says. “Accept that there will be situations out of your control and instead recognize that you have the ability to shift your attention and employ some coping tools to help you relax and refocus.”
Examples of tools you can use to help you include:
- Breathing exercises
- Gratitude journals
- Engaging in pursuits that bring you joy
- Being altruistic.
“A great meditation app I like to use is Headspace,” says Stewart. “It offers different types of meditations, different lengths and techniques, and you can even join in on the daily meditation and meditate with other people all over the world.”
2. Stay Connected.
Physical distancing and social distancing are not the same. Staying connected with and leaning on your social support network is just as important now as it was before.
There are still plenty of opportunities to stay in touch with your friends and family while staying home. A lot of people already stay connected via texting and social media but hearing a loved one’s voice over the phone or seeing their face over video chat can help boost your mood.
Don’t let isolation and physical distancing keep you from connecting with those who matter most to you.
3. Stay Active.
Exercise, getting your heart rate up, getting the body moving and the blood flowing is a great way to increase endorphins and improve your mood. Physical activity may decrease symptoms of both depression and anxiety. Other psychological benefits of exercise also include improved sleep and cognitive functioning.
There are a lot of things you can do to stay active and get a workout in at home while maintaining physical distancing practices.**
**Please keep in mind that these are only general recommendations. If you feel you might benefit from additional support, reach out to the Canadian Mental Health Association. For youth, mental well-being supports are available at Jack.org and Kids Help Phone.
Stay emotionally & mentally healthy at home with these tips from RBC Olympians Natasha Fox and Samantha Stewart
Try a Quick Mini Stair Workout
RBC Olympian Skylar Park is a Taekwondo athlete on Team Canada and is training for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games.
Mini Stair Circuit (repeat circuit 3 times):
- Squats: Walk up the stairs and on every second step do a squat, walk back down the stairs. Use the hand railing for stability and safety.
- Push-ups: Incline pushups – stand at the bottom of the staircase, placing hands on a step of the stairs that is comfortable for you. The lower the step, the more difficult the exercise will be. A more advanced variation are decline push-ups: place your hands on the floor at the bottom of the staircase and place your feet on a step at a level that is manageable for you.
- Step ups: (30 seconds): Standing at the bottom of the staircase, only using the first step, step up with your left foot and then with your right, then step back down to the floor with your left foot followed by your right. Continue for 15 seconds and then repeat alternating with your right foot for 15 seconds.
- Repeat three times!
Stay physically active at home with these free tips from RBC Olympian Skylar Park
Disclaimer: Do not begin a new exercise regimen without first consulting your doctor or a health professional; this piece represents general advice.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.