The Sports section of Scholastic has changed its format greatly because of the COVID-19 outbreak. There is not much to report on, due to the complete halt of collegiate and professional athletics across the country and the globe. For most who read these stories, I would imagine you find yourself in a similar predicament as the one I currently find myself in: What do I do with all this newfound free time?
I have been counting down the days until the NFL Draft just to hear any news about sports and have followed NFL free agency with a passion that I have never known. It is embarrassing for me to admit, but I even watched some of those videos on marble racing. They were the only connection I had left to live sports, my largest passion.
I normally spend the free hours in my week watching sports or reading about them on BleacherReport, but now I have found enough free time to finally pursue my own fitness goals. I have compiled a list below of some ways to get active for those who are going as stir crazy as I am. Remember that your safety and the safety of others should come before any recommendations I make. Practice fitness responsibly, but I assure you that you will be happier and healthier afterward.
Go for a hike or bike ride
Ever seen maps of hiking trails in your region and thought about doing them? Now is your chance to finally get out there and appreciate the beauty of nature in your hometown! Hiking and bike riding are both good ways to get active while also practicing social distancing. The United States has hundreds of thousands of hiking trails that offer beautiful views and peaceful treks through nature.
Not only will hiking and bike riding get you active and outdoors, but research shows that it is also extremely beneficial to mental health. While my siblings have all found their workload to be reduced, I am still dealing with many of the same stressors that I faced on campus including exams, papers and projects. According to research done at the University of North Carolina, being outside for just a few minutes can lead to a sharp reduction in anxiety, stress and depression.
It is also shown to positively correlate with increased creative thinking and problem-solving abilities. Struggling with ideas for an upcoming paper? Just go for a quick walk and let the power of nature take hold!
Download a health or fitness app
Many of the best apps on the market have significantly reduced prices or given extended free trials to encourage people to stay fit and healthy from inside their own dwelling. I found Peloton commercials just as ridiculous as many others, but the app provides a great workout plan and provides strong motivation via their personal trainers.
If you don’t like this style, take advantage of the Wellbeats subscription that the university is providing for every student! This app allows users to track their workouts and progress, while also providing over 400 classes in cycling, yoga, pilates, weight training and much more. Almost all of these workouts can be completed from home with minimal access to fitness equipment. Take advantage of the spare time to get in better shape for free!
Play a sport
Just last week I received a FaceTime from one of my roommates who challenged me to a game of virtual HORSE. I was dumbfounded at first, but soon realized that this is a great way to stay connected with friends, get active and prepare for Bookstore Basketball next year — and it certainly provides many laughs if you have as little skill as I do.
Many of us played sports in high school, so get outside, dust off the equipment and get practicing! I have found great enjoyment in beating my little brother (who is now two inches taller than me) in basketball on a daily basis, and once and for all proving that I am the better basketball player.
However you do it, just get outside and stay active! It will make a huge, positive difference in your day and will replace the activity level that many students find on campus. Most importantly, be smart and be safe.
(Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame)