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What are Hills West Students doing to stay fit during the Pandemic?

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My fellow sports editors and I decided to focus on how Hills West’s elite athletes have been staying in shape during the quarantine. Our dedicated Colts athletes responded how I thought they would, with lots of running, weight training, and conditioning work. This didn’t surprise me, as I know just how determined our athletes are. But, it made me think, how were students who weren’t athletes staying fit during the pandemic?

To answer this question, I sent out a survey that was directed at students who do not participate in school, intramural, club, or town sanctioned sports.

I received over 250 responses from non-athlete students from all grade levels

The survey asked basic questions, such as how students’ exercise patterns changed during the pandemic, how they prioritized exercised during the pandemic and new forms of exercise that students came to love during the pandemic.

When asked how their exercise habits changed during the pandemic, there were two majority answers, as a slight decrease in exercise, and a slight increase in exercise both garnered 66 responses. The second most popular choice was no change in exercise habits, with extreme increases and decreases in exercise coming in last

I was intrigued by the fact that the two most popular answers were a slight increase and a slight decrease in exercise. It gives an interesting insight into how different students changed their exercise habits during the pandemic.

Regarding the most popular form of exercise during the pandemic, outdoor walking reigned supreme over all other forms of exercise. Walking served as a way for many students to get outside and explore during the pandemic when many places that they used to frequent were closed. Places like beaches, parks, and forests served as places for many students and their families to get out of the house and do something beneficial for their physical and mental health.

As I know I experienced this, I wanted to see if any students found new forms of exercise that they had not previously, but started to enjoy during the pandemic. Although a lot of students said they did not pick up any new forms of exercise. A large portion of students came to enjoy weight lifting during the pandemic. There was a huge shortage of weight training equipment during the pandemic, as well as the widespread shutdown of commercial gyms, so many students had to rely on old sets of dumbbells, and basement squat racks to get workouts in

One question that gave me positive feedback was that a majority of respondents placed an increased priority on exercise during the pandemic. This is important as quarantine has caused us to become more sedentary, so it’s vital we make sure to prioritize the exercise that our body needs to stay fit and healthy.

As expected during a period of quarantine, most of the students exercised by themselves. This didn’t surprise me as, quarantine isolated many of us, and forced us to come up with enjoyable ways to exercise solo.

Just like everything during this strange time period we are living in, exercise was affected by the presence of face masks. I know that masked can definitely get in the way of some of my workouts, so I wanted to see how other students felt about masks.

Most students don’t actually wear masks when exercising, due to a lot of solo outdoor running and walking, and workouts all alone in the basement, so for many students, a mask isn’t needed. However, many students work out in private gyms, or crowded public areas, and wear masks to ensure the safety of themselves and others.

Of the students who wear masks during exercise., most of them felt that masks negatively impacted their exercise performance, though most students stated that the effect was minimal.

The effect of masks on exercise is something I definitely sympathized with, as it can make it difficult to breathe properly during intense exercise, but it is still important to wear when exercising in crowded public places, especially indoors.

When asked about how they felt their overall health and fitness has changed during the pandemic, the most popular response was that it stayed the same. This was better than I expected, as I was worried that many students may have seen worse health and fitness due to lockdowns and stay at home orders.

I wanted to ask students about any miscellaneous things regarding their health and fitness during the pandemic and got a lot of feedback from students regarding healthy habits they developed. A lot of students focused on their nutrition during the pandemic, becoming more conscious of their diets and making healthier choices.

Overall Hills West’s non-athletes have been similar before and during the pandemic with regards to their health and fitness. I was originally worried that non-athlete students would have exercised less, due to the closure of many popular events and activities, as well as the social distancing that came with the pandemic. Many students found new forms of exercise that they enjoyed during the pandemic, which will hopefully stick with them for a long time.

If you’re looking to make positive changes to your physical fitness, health, or diet during this challenging time, check out this great article from the CDC. Or, try this link to another article about exercises that teens can do at home.