Staying in shape: students adapt exercise regimens to cold weather


Miriam Bloom

With a cold winter setting in, exercising outdoors is becoming a less viable option for active students, leading some to find new ways to work out indoors.

Noa Appelbaum, Content Manager

The coronavirus pandemic has passed its nine-month mark in the United States, yet recent steadily lowering temperatures have made people feel the effects of the pandemic in new ways. Gone are the days in May where one could jog along the lakefront as a much-needed physical break from hours in the same room. Now, with colder temperatures ahead, students are wondering how they can burn off steam and get their heart pumping.

With continuous distance learning forcing people to remain cooped up indoors because of the change in weather, students are exploring alternative methods of working out, finding different forms of exercise can motivate and allow them to connect with others while improving their health.

Senior Sana Shahul, this year’s cross country team captain, turns to exercise as a way to keep up her stamina and improve her overall health. If it’s too cold to run outside, one of her favorite activities, she also tries her hand at 15-minute cardio workouts she finds on YouTube.

“Sometimes I brave it and run if it’s, like, 30 degrees, because fresh air is very important,” Sana said. “But if I can’t, there are some good videos that really get your heart rate going and feel almost like outside exercise.”

Recently, Sana and her friends have worked out together on Zoom: stretching as they talk and catch up after the end of the season, the girls of the cross country team applaud one another as they finish their workout games and compete in plank challenges.

“Going to a gym, you would feel the extreme motivation from other people, and now that we don’t have any sports seasons, I’m missing that connectivity,” Sana said.

Sana feels that working out is essential to maintain one’s physical and mental health, something that many feel has been dwindling with the ongoing pandemic, and Sana encouraged others to exercise to increase their motivation.

“Just one day at a time, every day, and you’ll start to feel better and see the results,” Sana said. “Even though it’s hard and you think there’s better things you should be doing, the pay-off is so real.

“Just one day at a time, every day, and you’ll start to feel better and see the results.””

— Sana Shahul

Junior Keara Booth also finds that working out increases her motivation and energy. Living in Wisconsin with her family as she attends school online, she adapts to the cold weather by visiting a gym, where, according to Keara, staff have implemented safety precautions like sanitizing equipment to ensure the health of attendees.

Keara finds she has more time to exercise without her daily commute to and from in-person school.

“I feel like myself more when I’m at the gym, and I think I push myself more when I’m in a public area,” Keara said. “There’s also been so much research that exercise helps with mental health as well, and especially in the pandemic I feel that by going almost every other day, I’m able to make a routine and hold myself accountable.”