Students try to stay in shape during pandemic with at-home workouts

Lilia Flores, then-senior in public health and nutrition, jogs around Memorial Stadium. (Archive Photo by Hannah Hunsinger | Collegian Media Group)

Though the Peters Recreation Complex is up and running this semester, some students are opting for alternative ways to get their workouts in.

Marissa Peaslee, junior in kinesiology, said her skepticism regarding the Rec Center’s cleanliness motivates her to work out at home.

“The gym is already not the most sanitary place in the first place, so adding a pandemic on top of that makes it even more stressful to go,” Peaslee said. “Even without the pandemic, knowing how to workout at home is really good for people who get really stressed out when they go to the gym because people do get anxious when they’re around a lot of other people and have to work out.”

Peaslee said it was easy to find at-home workouts since she already enjoys physical activity, and staying out of the gym has also given her an opportunity to try new things.

“Normally, my focus would be on lifting and building muscle, but I decided this year I would focus on endurance training, so I signed up for a half marathon and started training for that,” Peaslee said. “All you have to do is walk out your front door, so that was a really easy one that I could just do any time of day I wanted to.”

For some, motivation might be a challenge.

To combat this, Sarah Spond, junior in political science, said she encourages planning workouts with friends.

“I feel like there’s a sense of motivation and accountability that isn’t there when you do it yourself,” Spond said. “There’s not anything stopping you from canceling that. If you’re planning on going for a walk with your friend at [6 p.m.], you’ll probably end up going because you don’t want to cancel on your friend. It’s just a lot easier to be motivated to do things if other people are motivated with you.”

Like Peaslee, Spond said she enjoys having physical activity to do, and that desire keeps her driven to make time for a workout.

“I’ve always been an athlete,” Spond said. “So for me, not being able to have something to do like that would bother me. I couldn’t imagine sitting at home and not trying to do some sort of sport.”

When planning exercise, Max Kokenge, sophomore in sociology, said it’s important to set goals and design workouts that fit them.

“There are plenty of routines online for home workouts that will be much more effective than just winging it,” Kokenge said. “There are routines for running, weightlifting, general conditioning, anything really. Find one you like, and stick to it.”

Kokenge also said workouts help keep him healthy in many ways.

“I enjoy the feeling of getting stronger and getting better at what I’m doing,” he said. “It also has mental health benefits for me. I always feel a lot worse mentally when I don’t get the chance to work out for a couple days.”

Peaslee said starting small and setting reasonable standards for each workout will help make it a more relaxing and beneficial experience.

“If you don’t enjoy it, try something different because it’s about being able to enjoy it and staying healthy,” she said. “There’s no point in doing it if you’re not enjoying it because then you’re not reaping the stress relief benefits.”