(opinions) exercise mental health

Outside of McComas Hall, the location of one of the gyms on campus, Oct. 30, 2019.

One of the many aspects of life that has become harder in the quarantine era is getting regular exercise. Finding a program that works and retaining the motivation to stick to it has required much more creativity. No matter how hard it seems, there are still a large variety of ways for college students to exercise.

Group Exercise

Fortunately for Hokies, one of these options comes from Virginia Tech’s own Rec Sports department. Rec Sports continues to offer both online and in-person classes each semester.

The classes offered include cycling classes, yoga, various High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) classes and much more. A pass to participate in any of the online and in-person classes offered this spring costs $50.

“(The pass) is a great deal because (Rec Sports offers) almost 100 classes a week,” said Max Shuman, a senior majoring in Human Development and the Group Exercise Supervisor.

In short, the Group Exercise programs provided by Rec Sports house a large variety and a huge quantity of group exercises, both online and in-person. Hokies that are motivated by others to keep going during workouts should consider this option to develop their exercise routine.

McComas Gym

For Hokies that would rather go solo, McComas Gym is still open for individual exercise. Hokies must now pre-register for specific entry times to control the amount of people in the gym at once. While it may not be as convenient as walk-ins, this change has allowed McComas to become much safer while retaining all of its previous workout options.

“The way that McComas is spaced out right now is incredibly safe,” said Shuman. “(Students) have to wear masks the whole time if (they’re) not on a cardio machine.”

With War Memorial Hall currently closed for renovations, McComas Gym is the best option for Hokies that want easy access to great exercise equipment for their workouts. The university’s efforts to improve safety while retaining the functionality of the gym are impressive. Hokies that want to get out of the house for a workout should consider visiting McComas.

Intramural Sports

Intramural Sports are still being offered through Rec Sports for Hokies who want to stay fit through competition. However, the lineup looks noticeably different from previous semesters this spring. This is because of the need to distance while playing sports. Although some of the popular spring sports like Ultimate Frisbee and Flag Football aren’t there, there are still a few unique options to consider.

As of now, three team sports are being offered: pickleball, volleyball and dodgeball. More team activities are coming later in the semester alongside Singles events like tennis, golf and disc golf. While these sports are a little different from the normal offering, they still serve as an opportunity for Hokies to stay active and have friendly competitions with their fellow students.

Individual Routines

Of course, not all workout routines have to come through a school or a gym. There are several ways for people to stay active while maintaining quarantine from their own home or out in nature.

YouTube is an extremely powerful resource to help people find a guided workout plan that works for them. Because anyone can upload, there is an unparalleled variety in the style of workout offered through this method. This variety is even present in 10 of the most popular fitness YouTube accounts, demonstrating dance workouts, aforementioned HIIT workouts, walking workouts and so much more.

“(Students) can find so much on YouTube nowadays. Any sort of class (they) could ever want,” said Shuman. “I did a lot of YouTube workouts (early in quarantine) like I’m sure a lot of people did.”

The outdoors are a great place to pursue individual workouts as well. While it’s a little cold at the moment, fresh air can be great to break up the monotony of sitting inside all day. It helps that Blacksburg has access to many great trails, including the Huckleberry Trail and Ellett Valley Recreational Area.

For any Nintendo Switch owners, Ring Fit Adventure is a great way to keep an exercise routine without needing much space to move. The game is a surprisingly intense workout, mixing cardio with intense body-weight workouts to create a varied experience each day that is sure to leave users sweating. It also mixes in some role-playing elements into the gameplay loop to get people used to more traditional games hooked and coming back to get their daily workout.

Any option could be great to get active during quarantine.The best way to find a personal workout is to find what you like, so you have an incentive to come back each day and build towards a healthy lifestyle.

“(Choose) something that you can stay consistent in and more than anything, something you enjoy,” said Shuman. “Finding something you like and progressing in it is important.”