How students are staying active

Amy Morris, Scene Editor

With gyms and the rest of the CWU campus closed, students have to find other ways to work out. Whether it’s doing crunches, going for a run or doing yoga, getting a workout in has its benefits.

Caitlin Wilhelm, a sophomore majoring in business, thinks it is very important to attain a physical regimen, especially when having to stay at home.

“Getting outside and moving your body in some way is really important,” Wilhelm said. “Even if it’s not a full-blown workout with weights and gym equipment because a lot of people don’t have that now.”

Wilhelm said she does a lot of different workouts at home such as boxing, lifting weights, yoga, pilates and stretches. Being cooped up inside isn’t great on someone’s mental health and getting a workout in can help, Wilhelm said.

“I try to work out for my mental health and my anxiety,” Wilhelm said. “That’s kind of why I work out but also just to keep my sanity in this insane time right now. Just to have endorphins flowing and just to feel good.”

The biggest benefit exercise provides is maintaining overall health, according to Drew Moore, a senior majoring in clinical physiology.

The more sedentary a person is, the higher risk they have of increasing their chance of getting a respiratory disease, infection or risking their own cardiovascular health.

 If someone is not staying physically active, they are not moving their body and their blood is not going to be flowing as much, according to Moore.

Even though people are supposed to stay inside for the majority of time, going outside for a run can still be beneficial, Moore said.

“You can still go on runs, you can still workout outside in the park and everything,” Moore said. “If you need some sunshine, open your door, open your window and look outside for a little bit. Make sure you are staying healthy and active.”

Another big thing is it can be easy to get depressed when staying cooped up in your house for long periods of time, according to Moore.

“Some people who are really going through it with their families who may have [COVID-19] or their families who have small businesses who might end up going under because of this could be stressing out or [they] could get anxiety about that,” Moore said.

Weightlifting or finding other forms of exercise could help with releasing tension built up from stress. Moore said fiddling with things around the house to work out with can be effective.

“The other day I was doing curls with my chair,” Moore said. “The best way to do it is understanding that if I’m lifting it further away from the center of mass it’s going to be heavier then if I am lifting it right at the center of mass.”

Moore said since the stay-at-home order has been in place, he has been working out a lot more.

He used to be on a very strict exercise schedule with work and classes but now has more time to fit in yoga and other exercises he wouldn’t normally do. Yoga helps a lot with mental health, physical health and staying mobile, Moore said. 

“[I] wake up in the morning, do some yoga, eat some food and maybe in the afternoon watch a movie and do another workout and the rest of the night I’m just chilling,” Moore said.

The more someone stays sitting down, the worse it’s going to be on their joints, Moore said.

According to Moore, if you’re standing and playing video games, it’s a lot better than sitting because if you’re sitting you are not weight-bearing.

“I love video games just as much as the next person… if I’m going to be out there playing video games hours on end or watching movies … I need to make sure my body has been moved at least for thirty minutes, hopefully an hour, before I am going into those activities where I’m sitting [for] hours on end,” Moore said.

Tim Burnham, a professor of clinical physiology and the director of exercise science, said the number one benefit of trying to get some exercise at home would be the psychosocial benefits, which is how people interact.

Under that psychosocial category is a reduction in stress. Exercise is very effective in reducing someone’s stress and improving their mood, according to Burnham. 

A person is going to feel more energy when they work out, Burnham said. There is evidence it can decrease anxiety and depression as well.

“So all those things taken together are going to improve somebody’s quality of life. So I think … improvement in … mood and a decrease in stress and … in depression and things like that. I think that’s really beneficial right now,” Burnham said.

Exercise can have an influence on your immune system as well.

COVID-19 can cause someone with a compromised immune system to have a more complicated outcome, according to Burnham.

If someone does low to moderate levels of exercise, both in duration and intensity, it will improve someone’s immune function and they’ll be better able to repel viruses, according to Burnham.

 On the other side, if someone works out too much then their immune system will decline and they are more likely to get sick, according to Burnham.

Another benefit of working out is cognitive function.

Exercise independent of everything else keeps the brain and people’s thinking abilities in top function, according to Burnham.