New Zealand’s three-time World Championship canoe sprint medallist Aimee Fisher offers her five-point guide to keeping a positive and upbeat attitude during lockdown.
1 – Set Goals
As an Olympian and New Zealand international paddler, goal-setting is a way of life for Aimee Fisher. However, she believes the philosophy should not be the exclusive reserve of elite athletes and can be a useful approach for all of those experiencing lockdown.
“It is important to set daily goals,” explains Aimee. “It is not easy in lockdown but to achieve a goal each day, can make you feel like you have accomplished something. This could be anything from attempting to cooking a new dish to walking 10,000 steps a day.”
Aimee, who lives in a self-contained unit on the property of family with two kids in Takapuna, has opted to take one-month of rest from the demands of training but has wisely used the time to work on re-hab exercises.
Working on up to 20 exercises to achieve greater symmetry across her body and to improve her shoulder mobility – the goal has proved productive for the 25-year-old paddler.
“It’s been eye-opening to see the improvements I’ve made by
dedicating time and effort into more pre-hab exercises,” she explains. “It has given me a sense of purpose and achievement.”
2 – Be Creative
Every day during lockdown Aimee has devoted some time to unlocking her creative side by either working on a new recipe in the kitchen or spending time pursuing her new passion for crocheting.
“Many of us have finally had the time to stop and take stock during lockdown and it has been refreshing to have learned more about myself through creative tasks.
“My nana, Joy, who passed away after the Rio Olympics, used to do crocheting,” explains Aimee. “And, for me, doing the crocheting has been a nice project while watching YouTube videos on anything from cooking to philosophy.
“During my time in lockdown I’ve made a crochet blanket. For me, this is a nice way to reflect on my memories of nana.”
3 – Set a daily routine
Aimee insists that having some sort of daily routine during lockdown is a vital way of giving more meaning and structure to each day.
“Routine plays a big part in managing lockdown,” she explains. “From day one I’ve put in place a routine and tried to be disciplined about it. This has given me a clear sense of purpose.”
Besides devoting time to her re-hab exercises and her creative pursuits, continuing to study a Bachelor of Arts in Educational Psychology has played a core part of her every day in lockdown for Aimee.
“I find study quite challenging, but I try to work through it,” she says. “I’ve had the time to work through complex papers and I’ve made sure I’ve stuck to the plan. I’m kind to myself and give myself the odd day off, but I always made sure I don’t skip two days in a row!”
4 – Exercise every day
Even after opting to take a month off training during lockdown, Aimee has maintained a daily exercise routine of walking or working on re-hab exercises.
And the Hawkes-Bay raised paddler believes the same fundamental rule should apply to all.
“The exercise doesn’t need to be an intense gym or body workout but to move in some form every day is really important, even if it is something as simple as for a walk,” explains Aimee. “Chasing endorphins during these times of uncertainly are really important. The endorphins will make you feel better and improve your overall sense of well-being.”
5 – Enjoy your downtime
While personally making a conscious decision from day one of lockdown not to rely on Netflix for her kicks, Aimee insists making the most of your downtime is important.
She has spent time working on “daily handstand challenges” with the two children in her bubble and has also enjoyed listening to podcasts by the Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson during her daily walks.
“He’s a really interesting guy and I enjoy a lot of his key messages around the meaning of life,” she adds. “I’ve learned a lot by both listening to him and reading his work.”