These are devastating, scary, challenging times. We often worry about our family and significant others. We worry about our jobs, our finances, and ourselves. Despite all these challenges, our previous coping capabilities – racing, cycling, and group rides – are all interrupted or prohibited. For those who are used to endurance sport to release their toxins and bad vibes and to deal with their mental health during the good times, when routines are canceled during this tremendously stressful period can affect not only their physical but their psychological well-being as well.
Some may think that engaging in physical activity is less important during a global crisis; long-term health and self-care is indeed very crucial with or without COVID-19. If you believe this, then you must strive to take care of yourself while finding ways to help flatten the curve. Self-care alleviates mental health problems that may persist after the coronavirus has subsided.
Below are some recommendations from health experts regarding mental health and exercise.
Be Mindful Of Mental Health
If you usually take a ride, maintain that routine while sticking to the social distancing measures implemented in your state or community. This could mean cycling alone, doing the trainer once in a while, or moving your trainer in the patio or backyard if you are not allowed to leave the house that day. Whatever you plan to do, do it without hesitation. The pandemic is a time to be active. When we take care of ourselves, we are keeping ourselves safe, healthy, and helping our community.
This is particularly vital for endurance athletes who love utilizing their endorphins. Being idle and sedentary can result in pessimism, hopelessness, and depression that may influence other areas of your life. Try to do something every day. It will help keep your brain and body active.
Set New Goals
Endurance athletes are typically very driven and focused on achieving their goals. Most probably, their goals are not in a balance right now, so it would be great to set new ones. Short-term goals like holding 30-second or 1-minute planks or doing more squats are a start. Monitor your time and strive to improve on it daily. Challenge yourself to find more complex activities when you achieve your first few goals. List several short-term goals that could be done while you’re at home and can’t bike. Look for new workout regimens online – anything that’s healthy, feasible, and ones that will get your heart rate up and about.
These new goals will not only help you surpass the COVID times, but they will definitely be beneficial down the line when you realize at times that you’re not following your routine for some annoying reason.
Take This Time To Reevaluate
Despite the disappointment and devastation of the lockdowns, quarantines, and cancellations, perhaps deep inside you feel a little relieved – not because of the pandemic but for the downtime, the time for you to take a breather from the hectic life you previously lived. And that’s fine too. Some cyclists said that they felt a sigh of relief when their events were canceled. The upside is that this crisis has slowed down everything, including the responsibilities, the ego, being responsible for others, and waiting for others’ approval. It has enabled people to reflect and find the reason for their journey through life. Some are just so weary and realize that they do need a break from racing or cycling. If you’ve suffered from injuries or experienced burnouts, this is a chance to heal completely and get your groove back.
Always Connect With Your Community
Seclusion is among the worst things that can happen to mental health, so make sure that you stay connected with your family, friends, and other members of the community. Though you won’t see them as often as you want, you can keep in touch with them virtually through chat or video call.
If, on the other hand, you feel sad or out of the weather, look for someone you can talk to. Training and cycling can be a tough façade for other existing issues that have not been attended to. If you’re feeling troubled or don’t have the appetite, or just feel depressed, seek help from a professional who can address these concerns medically. Your usual routine has been disrupted, and sometimes your mental well-being can be affected, so find ways to protect your health physically, mentally, and emotionally.
By prioritizing self-care in times when you can’t ride the bike or do your usual routines, you can quickly move toward the new normal if and when it happens.