Students stay fit while staying home

During the school year, students can count on gym class as a way to stay physically fit and enjoy time with friends. However, with the pandemic forcing students to take physical education online, they are unable to participate how they normally would. So the question everyone is wondering is, how are students staying active?

Even the teachers have had to adjust to the new way of teaching. “PE is completely different to be honest,” PE and Driver’s Ed teacher Tony Rayburn said. “In my advanced PE gym classes, we just do individual workouts because they can’t do team sports. For weightlifting students, we do body weight workouts.”

A major challenge for Rayburn has been that most students have their cameras off during class. “We’ll do a workout and basically I’m teaching to twenty or thirty dots,” Rayburn said. “I can’t tell if they did the workout or not, but they have to fill out information that tells me what they’re doing.”

Some students are also struggling with the transition this semester, such as those participating in weight lifting. “We only do non-weight-bearing exercises because not everyone has weights at home. This is very different online because if we were in school, we would be able to use weights,” junior Wilson Kern said.

Teachers have also come up with different assignments to ensure students are still working hard. “We do wellness assignments and students will reflect on workouts they’ve completed,” Rayburn said. “As long as they’re filling out their bonus assessments and filling out what they have to, that’s all I can do.”

Although most students are in agreement that they prefer in-person gym, some enjoy the change. “I like online gym better because I can choose what to do for workouts that I know I need,” sophomore Anna Takemoto said. “My workouts will vary and I enjoy going for runs, to the gym, or lacrosse practice.”

Rayburn has his students doing a variety of different workouts in class. “I do some from YouTube and we rotate back to my body weight workout sometimes, which helps increase strength and muscular endurance. In order to make gains, you have to track your progress and increase your workload,” Rayburn said.

Weight lifting is a bit more challenging to do online than regular PE is due to the lack of resources. “I don’t really think I am benefitting from this class at home because I’m just doing bodyweight exercises and they aren’t really helping me gain muscle mass,” Kern said. “I would like to take weight lifting in person, but I’m not sure how it’s going to work with some students online and I don’t think we will be able to use the weights in the weight room, so I am just sticking to online.”

The only class that hasn’t changed dramatically for these students is Driver’s Ed. “The instruction is very much the same as it was in-person,” Rayburn said. “It is mostly just PowerPoints and quizzes. We try not to add too much to student’s workloads, since they already have so much asynchronous work.”

Taketomo thinks it is extremely important to continue to work out for class, even though she has her camera off along with a majority of her class. “I believe I am benefiting from these workouts because I started doing them during quarantine, and have continued to do them since,” Takemoto said.

“Studies show that an active mind is a healthier mind and a healthier person physically as well as mentally,” Rayburn said, “I hope we will get more kids to move and be active, even though it is more difficult.”