Strong Abs or Quarantine Flabs?

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Nate Lentz

For Bergerson ’20, the Bronx Science ourtyard is a perfect place to be with friends and let loose. “I was enjoying being a second semester senior. Little did I know this was one of the last memories that I had with my friends in the courtyard. I would have cherished it a little more if I had known,” Bergerson said.

As communities across the U.S. experience outbreaks of the novel coronavirus, exposed individuals are being quarantined, and others are encouraged, if not forced, to stay home. While these practices are set in place to save lives, some would go as far as to say that quarantine itself is a virus — especially with regards to our physical health.

Whether you are confined to a room after exposure to the virus or you are simply taking classes from home, we are all experiencing a severe reduction in physical activity. Our daily routine once consisted of traveling to school and moving around all day. Especially for students, taking physical education classes and climbing stairs was an important source of physical activity. Quarantine poses a significant challenge for remaining physically active. While at-home workouts exist, they are simply not practical for the average teenager.

A lack of physical activity can have negative effects on the health, well-being, and quality of life of individuals, which is why the Physical Education teachers at Bronx Science are devoted to encouraging students to stay active at home. “As Physical Education teachers, we as a department are sending out assignments designed to maintain our student’s fitness levels. These workouts or games can help to break up the monotony of our daily grind,” said Mr. O’Hara. On a daily basis, our Physical Education teachers are sharing numerous workout videos and assigning weekly fitness logs, which also serve as an attendance form. Due to some students’  lack of physical space and accessibility to outside resources, some of what the Physical Education teachers have asked for is not always practical. However, many of the “in-house” workouts and guided meditations can be performed without equipment. “Most kids are bored to tears! As a department, we hope that students at least attempt some of the workouts that we provide. Any exercise is better than none!” said Mr. O’Hara.

Gazi Fuad
Trapped indoors all day with little to do and see, Class of 2020 students are reminiscing over the precious memories they made during the first six months of their senior year. “Going to Bronx Science, I was blessed to wake up every morning to a beautiful sunrise. Now in quarantine, I wake up when the sun goes to sleep,” said Sabin Alam ’20.

Even though the Physical Education department is well aware of the significance of physical health, they are equally aware of the importance of balance. Students still have to manage their time appropriately between family, schoolwork, and personal endeavors. Thus, they are sure to be practical and reasonable with their assignments.

“To cut down on the busy work for students, we are requiring them to enter their workouts weekly instead of daily and to comment on one assignment per week. The biggest thing is that we want to convey to the students that we are in this together, and that it’s super important to take care of your physical well-being during these stressful times,” said Mr. McGrath, the Assistant Principal of the Physical Education department.

Some students are naturally turning to exercise as a pastime. “I have so much time on my hands now that I don’t have an excuse not to be productive. I’ve been working out every day, and I feel great. I used to not be able to do a single push up, and now I can do seven,” said Shahrika Taiyeba ’21. With less time devoted to getting ready and leaving the house, students are now more encouraged to work at their own pace and to focus on their health.

However, not all students share the same experience as Taiyeba. In fact, this sudden wave of free time has some students diverting their attention from positive habits such as physical activity. “I’ve been watching shows all day, every day. I haven’t found time all week to do the laundry or take a proper shower, and I definitely did not find the time to do the exercises that my gym teacher recommended on Google Classroom,” said a student who wishes to remain anonymous.

“In just three weeks of quarantine, I gained five pounds, and I forgot how it feels to be outdoors. I’ve been doing everything from my laptop, and it hurts every time that I get up to walk,” said Namira Mehedi ’21.  The quarantine was definitely a sudden change with significant impacts on our every day lives. The removal of physically demanding daily routines alongside the reluctance to devote time to exercise is all too common. As Fardin Khan ’20 put it, “My physical health declined faster than the economy.”

Bronx Science is renowned for the wide array of PSAL sports on offer to students. Hundreds of our student athletes have been forced to remove team practices from their daily routines and say goodbye to the Spring sport that they loved playing with their teammates. Though it is upsetting, many of these athletes are moving past the inconveniences posed by the coronavirus and are staying true to maintaining an active lifestyle. “The coronavirus hasn’t taken away my love for the sport, nor has it taken away the need to stay in shape as an athlete. It helps me to value the amazing team dynamic between myself and the other girls on the volleyball team. We have even found creative ways to stay active while at home,” said Diana Campbell ’22.

Physical activity and relaxation techniques can be valuable tools to help you to remain calm and to continue to protect your health, which is why it is imperative to push yourself to remain active during this time. Especially during a pandemic, prioritizing your health is key. Take Campbell’s devotion to maintaining an effective and practical workout routine as an inspiration to have one for yourself. Staying physically active may not be the most pleasant or convenient choice for how to spend your free time, but it will definitely pay off in the long run.

 

Caroline Wang
For athletes like Diana Campbell ’22, the coronavirus may have taken away their practices, but not their love for physical activity or the team. “It’s easy, in quarantine, to let go of the mental and physical responsibility to take care of yourself, and so that is something I try to remind myself of every day,” Campbell said.

it’s super important to take care of your physical well-being during these stressful times,” said Mr. McGrath, the Assistant Principal of the Physical Education department.

 

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