An ultra-runner talks curfews, training and fitness

Kerri Kanuga powers to the finish line at last year's Cayman Islands Marathon.

The Cayman Compass asked ultra-runner Kerri Kanuga, who is currently training for her fifth Badwater135 run, which National Geographic calls the “World’s Toughest Foot Race”, to share some tips on how to stay fit at home during curfew. The Badwater race – 135 miles through the hot and arid Death Valley of California – is scheduled to take place in July.

Luckily for me, I am used to training alone and do not rely on groups or classes to get my training in. What I am finding challenging right now is being limited to only 90 minutes of exercise, but I am able to improvise.

I am fortunate to have a good fitness base, having completed a 135 race in Brazil in January, where I came in third place overall female, and 107 miles running twice around Cayman for my birthday in March.

It is important for everyone to move at this time. In my opinion, there is no better way to relieve stress than to exercise. Be mindful not to overdo it or get discouraged; even a little goes a long way.

Try to keep active, as doing something is better than doing nothing. You will be surprised how quickly you will gain fitness and you will start to look forward to exercise – I promise.

There are days I do not want to exercise; on those days, I make a promise to myself that I will do my planned activity for 10 minutes (I remind myself I can do anything for 10 minutes). If I want to stop after 10 minutes I can stop. I have been using this trick for years and I have never stopped after the first 10 minutes.

Kerri Kanuga holds up the Cayman Islands flag after completing the Badwater 135 ultramarathon last year.

Activities you can do at home
Online workouts
There are many online workouts available. I download an abdominal workout every day. These workouts are available for all levels, and a strong core is very important, especially now while we are under curfew.

We are not moving as much or as often as we usually do under ‘normal’ circumstances.
I find due to inactivity, my back will start to bother me, and a strong core will help with back strength and pain.

Yoga
I think that yoga is very important right now. Most of us are not moving as much as we usually do and we are not at our usual work desks, and using kitchen tables, sofas or other surfaces that are not ergonomically correct.

There are many yoga practices offered online. I invite you to follow my niece, who offers her yoga practice from Switzerland for free. You can find her classes on Facebook as Brittney Kanuga.

You will get the benefits of stretching, a fully body workout, as well as grounding and breathing exercises which will help reduce stress levels during these anxious times.

Exercise ball
I sit on an exercise ball when at my computer at home. The ball, being unstable, forces the body into active corrections and forces alignment of the body, with the added benefit of getting a core workout at the same time. I am finding such benefit from sitting on a ball, I will be replacing my chair in my office with a ball.

Standing desk
Another good practice is to use a standing desk to relieve back pain. At home, an ironing board can serve this purpose.

Weight exercises
I do not have many weights at home so I rely on body weight exercises.

Push-ups, for example, are a great overall body activity. I suggest not trying too many all at once if you find this intimidating. As I mentioned before, a little goes a long way.

I suggest doing five to 10 push-ups in the morning; five to 10 at noon; and then another five to 10 in the evening. You will be surprised how quickly you will gain strength and increase the number you can do.

If you are feeling ambitious, try doing some burpees too.

Fitting outdoor exercise into 90 minutes
We are also blessed to have 90 minutes a day to be outside. I would suggest using this time for cardio. Fresh air and sunshine are excellent for overall health and wellness. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this time and go for a walk (or run).

Swimming is another great exercise for your entire body. There are so many benefits from swimming; not only is it a great exercise for the entire body but I find it better for my recovery than a massage. If your body is feeling sore or having tension from stress, the salt water of the ocean is very soothing and healing.

Eating healthy
Please try to eat well.

Exercise is important, but all of the exercise in the world cannot offset a poor diet.

It is important to have healthy snacks available. I eat my fair share of Oreos, but I try to consciously offset my trips to the sin bin by having pre-cut vegetables available.

I also have a green juice delivered to me daily to ensure I am getting some vegetables daily and can avoid trips to the grocery store as it is very important to stay home at this time. This will save lives.

QUICK TIPS

  • Find online workouts
  • Practise yoga
  • Use your 90 minutes to exercise outside
  • Avoid junk food and eat well
  • Do push-ups
  • Don’t overdo it

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