BIKE riding is being promoted as a means to get about town with incidental exercise amid self-isolation but cycling advocacy groups are urging people to proceed with caution.
You can still ride your bike outdoors while maintaining social distancing in Australia - for now - but Bicycle Network is advising people to be mindful of where they place accessories, like helmets and gloves, and to generally stick to riding with people from the same household.
Popular social riding groups about Ballarat have taken a hit with bunch riding discouraged.
Saxons' Jamie Govan said his club had been constantly monitoring official advise and member feedback. Until early last week, the Saxons were riding out in groups of no more than 10 riders, social distancing observed, and splitting up if needed but many members had already been choosing to self-isolate or to ride solo.
Mr Govan said the hardest part had been no post-ride coffees together, a popular cycling ritual for which these groups were so well-known. Instead his club, like others, had been making an extra effort to check in with each other via phone to keep up the social support that was so important for members.
Social running clubs at The Running Company and The Athlete's Foot postponed weekly meets a fortnight ago and popular movement parkrun has been suspended worldwide. The Running Company has been encouraging selfies from solo runs to keep its community together, while also posting trail runs for people to explore on solo runs about the region.
City of Ballarat councillor Samantha McIntosh says "polite social distancing" has always been quite the thing at Lake Wendouree for running, walking or riding. Councillor McIntosh, in an opinion piece for The Courier, called for greater urgency to bring about the lake lighting project to allow more people a chance to safely exercise outdoors to stay healthy.
Meanwhile, Zumba Ballarat instructor Erin Harris is working on the principle to dance like nobody is watching. Ms Harris is taking her high-energy Latin-themed dance workouts online and to her regular Zumba-goers to boost fitness and create a few laughs in tough times.
I just want to keep people active and keep endorphins up.Erin Harris, Zumba Ballarat
"I just want to keep people active and keep endorphins up," Ms Harris said. "Their kids might be watching and have a giggle or join in too."
Ms Harris participated in a class trial with a Melbourne instructor and launched her class on Tuesday night. She plans for two classes a week, on virtual conferencing platform Zoom, until Zumba launches its own class-share system, and hosted a free pop-up on Saturday for fun.
Ms Harris said the classes were a great way to see familiar faces.
Heart Foundation active living director Trevor Shilton said while COVID-19 was disrupting every aspect of our lives, including usual physical activity, it was vital to not be tempted to notch up more couch time.
Physical inactivity is a key risk factor for heart disease, which is the single leading cause of death in Australia. One Australian dies every half hour from heart disease. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Australians were far from meeting the nation's physical activity guidelines: 22 percent of five to 17-year-olds; 15 percent of 18-64s; and, 17 percent of over-65s.
TOP HEART FOUNDATION TIPS TO STAY ACTIVE IN ISOLATION
MOVE MORE AT HOME:
- Catch up on gardening.
- Brush up on your golf-putting skills or indoor bowls
- Aim for 10,000 steps a day and introduce a challenge with friends and family for most steps or active minutes
- Dance like nobody is watching
BUILDING STRENGTH (at least two days a week):
- Fill a water bottle with water and do some light weights. Can also use a carton of milk, one litre weighs about one kilogram
- Do resistance exercises against a wall or chair
- Follow a simple yoga program or use body-weight for push-ups and lunges
- Walk and talk about the house on your mobile phone
- Do some exercises in television advertisement breaks
- Try standing for activities when you would normally sit, like ironing
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