Are you an Aussie or a kiwi currently battling endless lockdowns, feeling some serious envy as the rest of the world boxes on? We feel you! The current times are an incredible challenge for all and hopefully one we will only see once in our lifetimes.
We hope you’re managing to stay sane, happy and maintain a positive outlook on the whole situation, but are also allowing yourself to have down days and feel frustrated. That’s normal – we’ve all been there many-a day over the past year +!
A key for us as avid cyclists and lovers of active healthy lifestyles is prioritising physical and mental health to help with brightening the mood on a daily.
To help share some of the ways our team have managed (last year in Europe) and are currently still managing in Australia, we’ve curated a list of our top tips for staying sane, healthy and active through lockdown or restrictive periods. Old news for some (we get that), but sometimes another added kick in the right direction is what we need to get back on top of things.
Most of these tips can apply to normal life too and it's also important to keep in mind that although these restrictions have been in place for a long time, it's not too late to make some healthy changes now!
- Plan out your week.
On a Sunday or a Monday (or whatever day suits really) take some time to sit down and plan out your week. For those in restricted lockdown, this is so key to making sure you factor in time for you and your health and wellbeing every day of the week. So sit down, grab your planner, diary or a good old piece of paper, list the days of the week, your priorities and commitments for each day, then highlight windows for me time! During those free time windows, the real planning then begins…
- Mix it Up.
Mix up your me time daily so you’re not too in a routine, you’re keeping active but not overdoing it (as yes, that can happen in lockdown)! Some ideas? Indoor cycling, yoga, home gym, a walk or jog around the block, reading, try a new recipe (nut butters, pesto, smoothies or juices and energy balls/bars are all fun and easy options), get stuck into a puzzle, start learning a language, listen to new podcasts, TV time, meditation, phone a friend or family member…the list goes on.
- Don’t go overboard.
Although we highly recommend some planning and structure to your week, don’t get too worked up about needing to keep busy every hour of your day. It’s absolutely ok and essential to just relax and allow yourself to be a bit lazy.
- Get your Vit D!
Maximise the time you’re allowed outdoors, depending on where you are and what the restrictions are. This is so important for those who are enduring the cooler winter months right now as we all know how winter conditions can really tempt us to just snug up inside. Although you don’t have anywhere to be or go, make going outdoors a priority – even If it’s just sitting outside with the paper, a book or for a chat on the phone. Fresh air and vitamin D are so key to good health and mood. If you’re feeling a little more down than usual and know you’re not getting your daily sun boost, then vitamin D deficiency could be an issue for you – it is for most people and lockdown really isn’t helping! Consider doing some research on supplementing with Vit D and adding some more Vitamin D rich foods to your diet. Oily fish, red meat, eggs (the yummy yolky part)!, fortified breaky cereals and mushrooms are all great options.
- Eat Well.
To add to the above, staying on top of your nutrition right now should be a big priority. Take this time to take a good look at your diet, what you think you’re doing well and what you could be working on. Think fresh. Fruit and veg, legumes, protein, wholegrains and finding the right balance. Do your research and then think of fun ways you can start adding more healthy nutrients into your diet and start eliminating the processed, high sugar products that are likely playing a big part in your fluctuating moods and overall health. Look at this time as an opportunity to change things up, try new healthy recipes and give up bad habits. It will no doubt be a challenge making changes at first and will take some planning (in your me time), but as you start adding more and more good foods into your daily diet, you’ll quickly adapt and will hopefully be reaping the benefits of fuelling your body what it truly wants and needs in no time. Another key is to aim for diversity – so try to make your plate as colourful as you can each day with different veg, fruits, grains etc. Although we’re all known to be creatures of habit, sticking to the same routines, snacks and meals each week, changing it up can be so beneficial!
- Get creative with your workouts.
Over the past year, free online workouts have become massively popular due to so many people worldwide being stuck put at home. From home gym workouts (weights or no weights), to endless amazing yoga classes (active or chilled) and even trainer workouts if you haven’t yet joined the smart trainer party. If you’re old school – get exploring on Google or YouTube and you’ll be surprised just how many easy access, no cost classes are available. 5 minutes to spare or an hour – there are options for everyone, every occasion and of all levels.
- Ride Time.
If you have a trainer, you’ve no doubt clocked up more km’s than what you had in your lifetime pre-covid? If you’re lucky enough to own a smart trainer, obvious choices to keep entertained cycling indoors are virtual cycling apps like Zwift or FulGaz. Mix it up some days by arranging a virtual ride with a friend or signing up for a group ride. If not, get exploring on YouTube as suggested above. GCN have some great options for wind trainers and stationary bikes. OR. If you are able to get outdoors within a restricted area (5km for some), the weather’s good and you feel motivated to cut a few laps around the block – do it! Some fresh air on the face, and the feeling of riding your bike outdoors can do wonders for mood lifting and will ensure that when you return to some normality, your road sensations will come back a lot quicker.
- Walk it out.
Walking is another amazing way to get outdoors for a breather, some fresh air and sunshine, but also to switch off and hit relax mode. Pop some beats on or a podcast, or just enjoy your own thoughts, and hit your local lap around the block. We’re big fans of end of the day or morning walks. If you haven’t given it a go, get into it. Even if running is more your vibe, take some time to tone it down a notch and get in a few strolls during your week to reset.
Hang in there Australia! We seriously can't wait for our crew from down under to join us on tour abroad again in the hopefully not so distant future. Fingers and toes crossed that things will take a turn for the better there very soon. Our European team have done an amazing job of getting things back underway at this year's Tour de France, however we are definitely missing an important piece of the puzzle - our Aussies. Here's hoping you'll all be back with us on tour in no time!