Staying active while doing online school.
Photo by Savannah Peterson / The Mainstream

Online School: How to stay active while staying home

Remembering to stay active while doing schoolwork may be tough. Many college students find themselves with such a tight schedule of work and school that they forget about the importance of physical activity. While schoolwork is important, staying physically healthy is just as crucial. The Center for Disease Control recommends that college students get at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week.

Now that all classes are online,students are no longer  getting up in between classes to walk across campus and move around making it critical that students find time in their day to practice physical activity. 

Sitting all day causes the body to burn fewer calories potentially creating back pain, causing headaches, and resulting in a loss of muscle strength. By taking the precautions of staying active while sitting in front of the computer, all of these symptoms can be reduced. 

In order to stay active while sitting in front of the computer, many small changes can be implemented in a students daily life. Instead of sitting down and slouching during zoom meetings, stand up. Standing up has many health benefits such as lowering weight gain, lowering blood sugar, reducing back pain, and much more. In order to keep zoom meetings professional while standing, be sure to place the camera centered around the face. By looking down into the camera instead of the camera pointing straight zoom meetings can stay professional. This can be done by gently pushing the camera up that way viewers can still see one another.

Many strength exercises do not require any equipment, several can be done at the desk. Doing strength exercises allows the body to warm up and burn calories. DOYOUYOGA recommends leg planks, foot drills, shoulder raises, back twists, chair dips, and to take frequent walk breaks. Leg planks are done by raising one leg at a time straight out, repeat this one both legs. Foot drills can be done by raising and tapping each foot quickly. Shoulder raises are done by moving both shoulders up and down rapidly. Back twists work most efficiently by placing one hand on the opposite hip, then putting the other hand up on a wall twisting the same way as that hand. Lastly, chair dips are done by placing each hand on the corresponding side of the edge of the chair, keeping both knees in a 90 degree angle and dipping down. Each of these exercise techniques work best if done in sets of 30 seconds  several times a day 

Stretching exercises are also important for maintaining a large range of motion within the joints and retaining flexibility that can prevent future pain. Allowing various amounts of benefits, stretching can release tension, improve flexibility and posture, and prevent injuries. Some stretches that are recommended by Environmental Health and Safety are for your hands, shoulders, back, neck, arms, and legs. 

Being physically active is important for health and wellbeing. The endorphins released when working out lower stress, anxiety, depression, and anger, according to American Heart Association

American Heart Association all emphasizes the fact that physical activity can also lead to a healthier mental life. People who get a regular amount of physical activity often reduce their depression levels or lower the risk of developing depression.

Physical and mental health are not the only benefits that physical activity induces; according to Maura Donovan, a writer for the University of New Hampshire’s Healthy UNH blog, students’ GPA can also be affected. Working out can increase a student’s GPA because exercise enhances mood, reduces stress levels, and increases energy, “On average, students who exercised at a vigorous intensity for seven days each week had GPAs that were 0.4 points higher than those who didn’t exercise,” Donovan says. Not only is it important to practice physical activity while doing schoolwork, but it is also important to develop a regular physical activity routine outside of school. It is necessary to understand that without a routine fitness plan, it is hard to maintain a healthy amount of physical activity. Worthy workouts can be done without leaving the comfort of home. See The Mainstream’s article, Low Impact Exercise for Students During COVID-19, for many different ways to work out from home.

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