Students share their ways to stay mentally and physically healthy
With very limited sports and activities currently allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions, people must be motivated and creative in order to stay active.
A survey conducted by The Concordian on eight Concordia University students allowed us to know more about how students are staying active in red zones, where gyms remain closed and most organized sports have halted. While it hasn’t been a big problem for some, the pandemic has asked many students to find alternative ways to stay active from home.
“I live beside a stadium, so I run and walk every day or so depending on the weather,” said Elizabeth Spinozzi. “I have a yoga mat, two 10-pound dumbbells and a band, and [I] do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and high-rep workouts with that in my living room five to six times a week.”
Some students said it’s important for them to keep the same routine as the one they had pre-COVID-19.
“I try to recreate from home what I would normally do at the gym,” said Bryanna Frankel. “I need to work [out] because it clears my mind and makes me feel good.”
Other students, however, said that home workouts aren’t favoured. Diona Macalinga said she doesn’t like indoor workouts during the pandemic because she’s still be stuck inside when doing so.
“At least going out for a walk definitely helps with getting out of the house,” Macalinga said. “I’m really trying to get out. It’s a mix of wanting to see actual people and getting fresh air. Even something as trivial as a ‘Hi! How are you?’ makes you feel better.”
Sandrine Ouellet said she’s giving herself breaks in order to stay active physically and mentally throughout the day.
“I give myself 30-minute yoga breaks and take a walk every day,” Ouellet said. “I also try to meditate because the mental and physical form come together. There are many great workout and meditation videos [available online], so we equip ourselves as best as we can.”
The pandemic has also made some students try new activities. Ouellet, who was a high performance gymnast for 12 years, said that trying new sports helps her to develop new skills and know herself better.
“I bought myself a tennis racket with my best friend,” Ouellet said. “We went playing once and I absolutely loved it, even though I’m not super good. It’s cool to do things that are a bit out of your comfort zone.”
A few students also said they were biking daily, or at least often during the week. Chahinez Dib said she didn’t used to bike very often, but was doing so at least five times a week during the summer.
For Gabrielle Dumont, who was training at the PERFORM Centre at Concordia before gym closures, going out for walks and riding her bike have been her main activities during the pandemic. She said she doesn’t want to be close to strangers or borrow things that aren’t hers.
“I try not to borrow other people’s stuff because I don’t want to get COVID-19,” Dumont said. “I stayed with sports I had the equipment [for], which are my bike and my legs.”
All students are experiencing the pandemic differently, and not everyone has the chance, or even desire, to workout at home the same way they would in a gym. The students surveyed suggested different tips for their fellow students in order to help both mental and physical health.
“Find some good podcasts,” Caroline Marsh said. “It can feel kind of lonely during the pandemic, and podcasts can make you feel like you’re part of a conversation. They’re really good for walks.”
Dib said the most important thing at the end is yourself.
“It’s important to go out, instead of staying home all the time and focus[ing] on our assignments, although it’s important,” Dib said. “Since we’re not able to leave the house as much as we used to, it’s necessary to go out for walks or runs.”
Liam Hennessy said that having a routine is essential. He compared the situation with when he was unemployed, saying he would miss meals, sleep at strange hours and always feel drained.
“Waking up early, killing a list of chores and making sure to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day [is important],” Hennessy said. “It really made the difference in how I feel during lockdown.”
Also discussing socialization, routines and a good diet, Ouellet said a suggestion she would give to other students is to take the necessary time for yourself.
“At the end, we’ll be more productive, with our homework and all, if we take time to move,” Ouellet said. “Sometimes, just to take 10 minutes to get our work and stuff out of our mind[s] helps [us do] better work after.”
Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion