Physical Education During a Pandemic

By: Nefeli Georgilas, reporter

Covid has made widely visible effects on people of all ages worldwide. One of those impacts, debatably the most important, is physical wellness.

Over the course of the pandemic, many have neglected a proper exercise routine or diet. “I think I have stopped exercising as much just because I don’t have enough time or motivation to do so… I also can’t really go anywhere outside to play sports. Without something pushing me, or rather, with an order to stay inside, I don’t do many activities outside,” said Lizett Monge-Ocampo, a sophomore at Spring Valley HS.

Thus, many students find themselves unable to exercise or even unwilling to after a long stretch of unproductivity. Articles across the Internet have gone over how to exercise and what best equipment is best to implement at home. However, since the Covid pandemic seems to slowly be coming to an end, how will students adjust when school is mandatory to go to?

What about younger students who are already going back to school fully?

A study* conducted by Genevieve F. Dunton, Bridgette Do, and Shirlene D. Wang published in the site BMC Public Health notes the impact of the Covid pandemic on children residing in the United States. This study was concluded on September 4th, 2020. Groups of children between the ages of 5 to 13 filled an online questionnaire, one which examined their intensity of physical activity (PA) and sedentary lifestyle behaviors (SB).

The parents of these children also participated in this study, referencing details about where, how, and what activities they and their children considered physical activity, as well as if they found themselves showing signs of transition into a sedentary lifestyle. The results were not far from expected, but stand to provide crucial insights into how adjusting to a life without the fear of Covid could be more challenging than initially thought. From the 211 children who participated, there was a foreseeable and dramatic increase of sitting time, ranging from an hour and a half increase to over eight hours of staying inside.

The younger children from the study still played and exercised outside as much as usual, however, children approaching or in their pre-teens experienced a large drop in PA and started applying a more sedentary lifestyle to themselves already, considering this study was done in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. Analysis of the results foreshadows a likely increase in risk of developing chronic, sometimes even fatal diseases from early childhood, but also not excluding adults who might have previously engaged in an active lifestyle. There has always been controversy regarding whether physical education class should be conducted, as well as how much good it does to students in the first place.

“I would want to have a physical education class, because I think it could really help me stay motivated and have fun in between of my classes in a productive way,” said Stephanie Andrews, a sophomore at Chaparral HS.

This shows that physical education classes are a good break from the rest of the classes. Thus, these classes may successfully motivate students to get out of their seats and move around more, possibly allowing for better concentration and less fatigue later on. Taking action on encouraging and promoting healthy lifestyles and a state of optimal fitness should have been done a long time ago, however, it is still possible to encourage these activities within school hours and serve the potential to bring many children and teens back to their past lifestyle.

Source of Study:

Dunton, G. F. (2020, September 4). Early effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical activity and sedentary behavior in children living in the U.S. BMC Public Health.

Many students have been having trouble keeping up with their exercise regimes and/or

diets throughout this Covid pandemic. Staying motivated during quarantine can be a challenge

with all of the stress and events occurring around people of any age.

Photo credit: Nefeli Georgilas

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