Exercising six feet apart

Students make creative plans to get exercise with gyms closed

Daniel Newman, Sports Editor

It often seems like there is never enough time to fit everything one wants to do into a schedule. There are things like classes, homework, jobs, socialization and sleep all to focus on. Sometimes, exercise and food can take a back seat to things previously mentioned. It becomes all the easier to say no to the gym when all the gyms are closed.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, if a student lived on campus, it was easy to work out in the residence halls or in Royal Brougham Pavilion. But due to social distancing and sanitization issues, the gyms on campus will remain closed for the foreseeable future, as well as Wallace Field.

An empty workout room
The inside of Emerson Hall’s workout space, as it sits empty until further notice, due to COVID-19 protocols
 (Hailey Echan)

Junior Levi Dahlberg thinks having access to a gym on campus makes things easier.

“One, you have the proper utilities and tools to, one, hone your body, but two, also hone your mind,” Dahlberg said. “It allows for a physical and mental escape from your day to day activities, and it allows you to get that dopamine release that comes with bettering yourself and bettering your body.”

A computer science major, Dahlberg knows just how much of an effect staring at a screen all day can have on things like our posture and our sleep schedule.

“Being able to get that physical escape to a gym allows you to relax a little bit and focus on something other than school,” Dahlberg said.

Sophomore Matthew Messenger also agrees that a well-planned workout can have a hugely positive impact on a person’s mood and a person’s day. 

“For me, it’s a huge de-stresser. I use it just to unwind and relax,” Messenger said. “I just feel really good about myself and I feel happy after a good workout.”

A sign saying, "Rex is closed until further notice"
The gym in Emerson Hall from the outside, closed due to COVID-19 concerns, leaves students with limited options to remain active.
 (Hailey Echan)

A lot of working out has to do with being able to stick to and follow a set schedule. For Messenger, a routine is a key part of his workout plan.

“That’s the part that is honestly the hardest. It’s really easy to just forget to do it, or push it off, or make excuses, like ‘Oh, you know, I’m fine, I don’t need to do that.’ It’s easy to get out of the routine, and it’s really hard to get into that routine,” Messenger said.

Messenger recommended writing notes, setting alarms, or putting workout times into a calendar.

To make things easier for his workout plan this quarter, Messenger has bought a few small workout items for his dorm room. These items include workout bands he hangs from his door, as well as interchangeable dumbbell weights, which range from 5-55 pounds.

Messenger also plans to ride his bike and run around the canal and campus, as well as do body weight exercises like push ups and planks in his room.

As a short term solution during the summer, as well as while he stays home in Stanwood, Washington this quarter, Dahlberg has been following along with different high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts online.

“If you’re able to make everything bite sized, you’re able to find a good, easy, HIIT workout that will get you by,” Dahlberg said.

In addition to this, Dahlberg has been utilizing body weight training, as well as using old car tires as weights. He has also been playing different sports with his brothers and taking the time to go on runs regularly.

If students are simply looking for ways to improve their attitude and their mental health, Dahlberg says that focusing on eating the right food is important as well.

“The things that go into your body really affect your mood, your energy level, and how you’ll perform throughout the day,” Dahlberg said.

Whatever a student’s plan or playbook for staying active and healthy during the Fall quarter is, having a routine plays a huge part in having that plan be successful

“Kind of like making your bed in the morning, working out, for me, is that self-motivating factor to say, ‘I can achieve something today,’ and I’m able to push myself to be better,” Dahlberg said.