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Victoria Nolan practices on an outdoor rowing machine on her back porch.

Detour to Tokyo - Part 3

It was difficult to hear that the Olympics and Paralympics would be postponed for a year, but it was also a relief. As Canadian athletes, we were very proud that Team Canada had already made the difficult decision to pull our teams out of the games, if they were to go ahead. But then we had to wait for the final decision from the International Olympic and Paralympic committees as to whether they were still going to hold the games, postpone them or cancel them.

Delaying them by a year allows everyone – from athletes to organizers – to focus on their heath and wellbeing. It also provides an opportunity for all the athletes to resume their training, which levels the playing field for the competitions.

Right now, all Rowing Canada athletes are training at home with rowing machines and any other equipment that is available to them. Many clubs and organizations have helped by loaning equipment to athletes and Rowing Canada has modified our training. 

It is difficult to keep up with an exercise regime at the best of times, but with physical distancing, it can be even more of a challenge – even for elite athletes. Some of the strategies we use can help you to stay on top of your fitness goals when it's difficult to get motivated. 

1. If you have people you usually do activities with, stay in touch.  
We have regular athlete meetings to talk about progress and challenges during workouts. We also have an online forum where we post the results of our workouts for everyone on the team to see. This not only keeps us motivated to do our best, but it makes us accountable. 

Note: You can be accountable to non-athlete friends as well. Simply telling someone your fitness goals makes you more accountable than if you keep them to yourself.

2. There are online resources that can help you stay motivated – many of them are available for free on YouTube. You can also subscribe or buy the apps.

Here are two of my favourites:

Studio Sweat on Demand – This is a live spin class if you have a stationary bike at home. Instructors coach you through a workout and you can keep cadence just by following the beat of the music. Learn more at:

Yoga Download – I wasn't really into yoga until I found this website. There are hundreds of different classes, which means you can find the style, pace and instructor that suits your needs. They also offer classes in podcast format, which means they are descriptive and don't rely on visuals. Learn more at:

For weights and core exercises, you can google the exercises you want to do and have an online coach guide you through the form and motivate you to complete the sets. Since I don't have a set of weights at home, I am following a weight routine that just uses bodyweight.

3. As well as the physical benefits of staying active, this is an important time to take care of your mental health as well. I find physical activity allows me to clear my head and take a mental break from everything else that is going on around me. Knowing my workout will take place at a certain time each day also helps me keep the structure in my day. Now that we don't have our typical work and school routines, consistency is helpful.

Before the pandemic started, the number one excuse for not exercising was not having the time. One positive thing that could come out physical distancing is that you are more fit, and an exercise routine may become more ingrained in your day. It's worth a try!

Read Part 4.