A renowned freestyle diver from Turkey has been doing bodyweight exercises at home rather than using professional gym equipment to stay strong during the COVID-19 lockdown days.

Sahika Ercumen, one of many athletes in the world searching for ways to be fit in the self-isolation period, told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview that she is doing traditional bodyweight workouts in her home as the 35-year-old said she has limited facilities in this process.

In addition to the muscle workouts, Ercumen said that she also does breathing exercises to strengthen her lungs to stay healthy.

“Besides, as a dietitian, I’m sure that a healthy diet is very important in this process. I have been going on a special diet to be fit as well,” Ercumen said and adding that she has a sugar free diet to follow, doesn’t eat baked foods but regularly consumes ginger, turmeric, vegetables, fruits, and homemade yogurt.

However, the stay-at-home period was good for her to spend time on leisure activities.

“I love to work and produce so much. I traveled to three cities on the same day as I had an intense working 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,” Ercumen remarked.

But she stated that the long-term lockdown in Turkey started to displease her because she loves to be in nature.

On April 10, Turkey started to impose weekend curfew in 31 provinces — including a megacity, Istanbul, and the capital Ankara — to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

As of Thursday, Turkey registered a total of 3,174 deaths due to coronavirus whereas nearly 49,000 people have recovered from the disease. Currently, there are 120,204 confirmed cases in the country.

After originating in China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 187 countries and regions. Europe and the US are currently the worst-hit regions.

The pandemic has killed over 230,600 worldwide, with more than 3.24 million infections, while recoveries have exceeded 1 million, according to figures compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University.

Setting aside time for herself

“So every day I am trying to motivate myself to get over this process in the best way”, Ercumen stated and adding that she began to watch TV series and put instructive videos on social media.

Ercumen said that she studied German for seven years while she was in middle and high schools so she could refresh her knowledge and develop language skills if the stay-at-home period got longer.

“I muted my WhatsApp groups on the phone. Social media addiction and texting are like whirlpools, which may suck a person inside. I quit them when I think that I’m wasting time.”

The Turkish athlete added that she had time to take a look at her archive, where she found some old souvenirs such as letters, old photos, albums she inherited from her grandfather, and her high school notes.

Unique experiences, records

Ercumen was among Turkey’s 2019 expedition group to Antarctica.

In February 2019, a Turkish team traveled to Antarctica as part of the 3rd National Antarctic Science Expedition to spend 30 days, which was supported by the Turkish Presidency, the Industry and Technology Ministry, and ITU’s Polar Research Center, along with other Turkish universities.

During this expedition, Anadolu Agency, with a group of three journalists, covered the team’s scientific efforts in the frozen continent.

Ercumen became the first Turkish woman to dive without air tanks in Antarctica on Feb. 5, 2019.

She stayed underwater at zero degree Celsius for two minutes without any equipment to protect from the cold.

Separately Ercumen set a world record in women’s cave diving without fins on Oct. 28 as she dove 100 meters in the icy waters of Gilindire Cave in Turkey’s southern province of Mersin.

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