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Stay in shape while sheltering in place

In an area home to athletes ranging anywhere from Olympians to weekend warriors, orders to shelter in place aren’t the easiest pill to swallow.

Those who are used to hitting the outdoors to recreate this time of year are being told to stay near home and limit activities to around their residence. And while maintaining responsible social distancing practices are key, health officials also are stressing the importance of exercise and other activities to maintain physical and mental health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that stress induced by the outbreak can lead to difficulty sleeping, worsening of mental and physical health problems, and an increased usage of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. As a way to cope with stress, the centers are recommending individuals get regular exercise.

Athletes weigh in

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From running laps around a backyard to virtual yoga, several athletes who call Tahoe home or that journey here annually weighed in on what they’re doing to remain in shape while practicing social distancing.

Adam Kimble, an ambassador for Big Blue Adventure and one of the area’s top endurance runners, said he’s been able to get on trails near his house in Tahoe City, along with incorporating some snowshoe running.

Like many, Kimble has also turned to technology to supplement workouts, joining virtual classes and creating a new weekly ritual of doing yoga via Mountain Lotus Yoga’s online classes.

Along with classes, Kimble said he’s preparing for the upcoming race season by riding a stationary bike, using TRX bands, and finding various workout videos on YouTube to incorporate into his normal routine. Other area gyms, like CrossFit Truckee and Tahoe Peaks Performance Training, are offering virtual online training for members as well.

For those really looking to gear up for long runs this season, Kimble and Big Blue Adventure Director of Operations Bryan Rickards recently sat down to discuss training advice for marathons and longer races on Tahoe Trail Running’s Facebook page.

For those not ready to let winter go, local alpine racer Marie-Michele Gagnon has created a workout video, which can be found on the YouTube channel Alpine Strength.

“I’ve put together a (40-minute) workout specific for skiers,” said Gagnon in an Instagram post. “The workout is designed to do at home with limited equipment. All you will need is a yoga mat, a foam roller, a chair/stool, a dumbbell or kettlebell (or something with a little weight you can hold on to) and a cushion/pillow.”

One of the Truckee-Tahoe area’s most prominent running groups, the Donner Party Mountain Runners, has created several workouts that can be found on its website. Board member Chris Cloyd has posted a trio of exercise routines based on body weight workouts designed to “keep our fitness up, elevate our moods a bit, and put us all in a better position to hit the ground running when the trails are melted out again.”

Vital exercise

For many, the mental benefits from exercise are vital, but without competitions on the horizon, it can be a struggle to summon the motivation to workout.

South African Red Bull athlete Ryan Sandes has been on lockdown at his home in Cape Town. Sandes, who has often competed around the Tahoe area, said he typically runs more than 140 kilometers per week as part of training for ultra-marathons. Due to COVID-19, he said he’s down to about 60 kilometers per week, but is finding ways to stay in shape and motivated.

“I think the current uncertainty of what we are going through is what is really getting many people down at the moment,” said Sandes. “For active people, we don’t know what to do, we have no goals to work towards and absolutely nothing is definite. My job is running, and for the foreseeable future all of my big races have been canceled and even my upcoming projects have been put on hold. I think it’s this uncertainty that is causing anxiety, which can lead to not being motivated to train as you don’t know what you are training for.”

Sandes’ advice is to start small by setting mini daily and weekly goals like running 5 kilometers within the confines of small space like a backyard or by “climbing the steps to our front door a thousand times.”

“Literally, take it all just one step at a time,” added Sandes. “Try not to focus too far forward. See this time as an opportunity to spend quality time with your family, and get them to take part in your training activities. I have included my 3-year-old son, Max, in my gym routine, especially in my strength training, he has loved being on my back as I do my bear crawls along the grass or squats whilst I hold him. He has really enjoyed being part of it.”

For those interested in following along, Sandes has posted several tips and some of his home workouts on his Instagram page at @Ryan.Nicholas.Sandes.

“I think one of the biggest lessons I have learnt is that I have to let go of those things I cannot control,” added Sandes. “And focus only on what I can control, and just learn to be.”

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2643.


 

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