It’s been several weeks now since COVID-19 entered our lives, turned it upside down, and has kept us at home. Rinks closed in mid-March and will more than likely remain shuttered until September. It has been 6 weeks since Olympia Skating Club had its last ice session. The new at-home world has many challenges such as working from home, learning to use new online meeting platforms, providing an education for our children, keeping ourselves busy and motivated, and finding ways to maintain both mental and physical well-being.

Off-Ice Training

While we may not be able to train on the ice, we can certainly keep fit and in skating shape off ice. All you need is a small space to move around in and a mat. Every Wednesday, our Olympia club members meet online to lead ourselves through an informal off ice training. Each participant suggests exercises for each of our workout sections – warm up, legs, arms, core and stretching. I, for one, need to workout with a group to keep motivated and interested. This does the trick! You can also find other options through the ISU’s Keep Training series. Adult skaters – be prepared to modify this workout because some things may be too challenging or taxing for the aging body. There are some training exercise videos geared for adult figure skaters, but again, you may have to modify depending on your fitness level. You can also find more ideas here on the home-gym workout. Yoga is also a great option to relax and center your mind.

Our head coach, Monika Bafia, recommends doing off-ice training 3 times a week. You don’t have to do a big 60 – 90 minute workout all 3 times, but alternate with working on certain sections such as core one day, legs the next. Use light weights or bands to provide additional resistance and strength training.

Dance training is also important to keep upper body movement intact and to explore ways of expression through using the body. The National Ballet of Canada has designed some ballet barre workouts for adults that are excellent and accompanied by music. Experiment with movement to different music on your own as well. Dance like no one is watching! Keep practicing moving to music to increase your interpretive skills and toolbox of moves. The more you’ve practiced this, the easier it becomes to access once back on the ice.

Healthy Eating

Globe and Mail writer/dietician Leslie Beck has written some great articles on how to boost immunity, healthy at-home eating strategies, controlling stress eating, and how to stock your pantry during the pandemic. Dust off your old cookbooks and whip up old favorites or try some new dishes. Experiment with new cooking techniques. I’ve noticed a lot of bread creation photos on Facebook lately. Keeping the cooking and baking interesting – if you have a great recipe, feel free to share it on our Facebook page. There are literally millions of recipes available online to try.

Mental Health and Well-Being

Getting outside several times a week and going for a walk or bike ride is great for mental health and peace of mind. Everyone needs a break from being together all the time at home. Reach out and call or Facetime with friends and family. Take an online course on something you’re interested in learning more about. Read a book. Watch an interesting documentary. Kanopy, available free through the public library, offers a huge selection of films and documentaries.

Olympia Skating Club has a bi-monthly social for our members on Saturday night. It’s a great way to reconnect, but also a time to talk about what’s bothering or worrying you. Our club has always been a very supportive one and never more so than during this pandemic.

Set small, weekly goals for yourself to feel a sense of accomplishment. It can be something simple like sorting your sock drawer, making a pot of soup, painting a picture, learning a new piece on an instrument, or starting a simple garden. Increase your fitness level by doing one extra crunch or few more bicep curls. I’ve been increasing the length of my walks every week by 5 minutes and I feel like champion!

No one is having an easy time right now. We’re all having up and down days, but keeping fit and active can help with sleep, self-regulation and provide an overall sense of well-being. Hang in there because this too shall pass. We’re all in this together!