Turkey’s world-renowned freestyle diver Şahika Ercümen has been busying herself with home workouts in order to keep in shape during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Ercümen, one of many athletes searching for ways to stay in shape during self-isolation, told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview that she was currently training with traditional bodyweight at home. The 35-year-old athlete said this was the best she could do given the limited facilities on hand.
In addition to muscle workouts, Ercümen said that she has also be doing breathing exercises to strengthen her lungs to stay healthy.
"Plus, as a dietitian, I'm certain that a healthy diet is very important in this process. I have been going on a special diet in order to keep well," Ercümen said, adding that she followed a sugar-free regiment, with no baked foods – rather only regularly consuming ginger, turmeric, vegetables, fruits and homemade yogurt.
However, the stay-at-home period, she admits, has been good in order to spend more time on leisure activities.
"I love to work and produce so much. I used to travel to three cities on the same day, as I had an intense work tempo for years. I don't remember the last time I sat on a couch or watched a movie and I had to have a break," Ercümen remarked.
But she stated that the long-term lockdown in Turkey had started to worry her, as she loves to enjoy the great outdoors.
On April 10, Turkey started to imposing weekend curfews in 31 provinces – including the country’s most populous city Istanbul, and the capital Ankara – to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
"So every day I am trying to motivate myself to get over this process in the best way", Ercümen said, adding that she began to watch TV series when not uploading instructive videos on social media.
Ercümen said that she studied German for seven years while she was student, so she will also been able to refresh her knowledge and develop language skills if the stay-at-home measures endure.
"I muted my WhatsApp groups. Social media addiction and texting are like whirlpools that suck a person down from deep inside. I quit them when I think they are wasting my time."
The Turkish athlete added that she had also had time to sift through her belongings, where she found some old souvenirs such as letters, old photos, albums she inherited from her grandfather, as well as her old school reports.
Ercümen was among Turkey's 2019 expedition group to Antarctica. She became the first Turkish woman to dive without air tanks in Antarctica on Feb. 5, 2019.
She stayed underwater at zero degrees Celsius for two minutes with no equipment to protect her from the cold.
She also set a world record in women's cave diving without fins on Oct. 28, diving 100 meters (328 feet) down in the icy waters of the Gilindire Cave in Turkey's southern province of Mersin.