Quarantine Exercise



   This year, Nixa High School students at home, whether because of all-virtual learning or COVID-19 quarantines, had to take exercise into their own hands.

   NHS Head Volleyball Coach Annie Zimmerman says that everybody, whatever their physical fitness, should be active for at least a half-hour a day.

   “Probably a minimum of 30 minutes of some type of physical activity would be the most beneficial,” Zimmerman said. “Yeah, anything more than that is a bonus. I mean it’s great for you, too.”

   What should a 30 minute workout look like? Zimmerman says it should be a mix of aerobic and strength-training exercises.

   “A good combination of aerobic [exercise], something that’s gonna get your heartrate up for an extended period of time,” Zimmerman said. “And that can just be a brisk walk, [jogging], biking, I mean there’s lots of different ways that you can do that. But then also, mixing in some strength training of some sort.”

   An activity NHS Girls Basketball Varsity Assistant Coach Jim Middleton recommends is swimming, for its numerous benefits.

   “One of the things that is really really good is swimming, because it takes a lot of weight off the joints. If you’re a decent swimmer at all or enjoy that… [it’s] a great full-body exercise.”

   Although, two other activities to consider are walking and jogging, Middleton said.

   “[It depends] on your level of fitness, but a walking regiment’s very very good,” Middleton said. “I mean if you’re a young person and want to get into the jogging situation, that’s certainly great, too.”

   If someone is considering going to a gym or buying equipment,  Zimmerman said they should be on a good physical level with their own bodyweight first.

   “Sometimes, I mean, your bodyweight is the best equipment that you can use for a lot of exercises,” Zimmerman said. “So, I mean, if a person can’t lift or move their own bodyweight, they really shouldn’t be working out with extra weight on top of that anyway.”

   Middleton and his wife used their free-time during lockdown to exercise, working out for 30 minutes or more a day.

   “I decided… to make sure I stayed very very active because it’s really easy to get in your house and kinda get shut-in, so to speak,” Middleton said. “… So my wife and I, we decided to really up our walking a whole lot more, and we were going at least 45 minutes a day.

   The routine paid off for Middleton whenever he saw notable weight loss.

   “I actually lost about 25 pounds, during that time. And it was simply because of my making sure I was being very very active, and actually watching more of what I ate, too.”

   Middleton added more on how proportional eating helped him with that.

   “It was more just a proportion control, I was just eating less,” Middleton said. “It’s so easy for … the fat to creep up on you. And it just slowly adds and adds, and that’s what had happened to me.”

   Zimmerman confirmed the importance of  diet, citing caloric intake vs. energy spent.

   “Just [make] sure that you’re paying attention to whatever energy you are putting in your body, so that’s the food that you’re eating, the calories that you’re eating,” Zimmerman said. “Your exercise — you need to make sure you’re doing an amount of exercise that’s going to burn that energy, because any excess energy that’s left over, that’s what gets stored as fat.”

   Zimmerman said that stretching is a beneficial practice to take up, as well.

   “I think stretching is … very beneficial for your entire body,” Zimmerman said. “Obviously, it’s gonna help release and get rid of some of that lactic acid that can build up in your muscles over time. …Then just, the more mobility you have in the joints in your body, the less likely you are to experience injuries [and] soreness.”

   Yoga can  boost flexibility, be the strength training in a workout, or a good alternative to keep workouts diverse, according to Zimmerman.

   “Yoga can be strength building as well,” Zimmerman said. “But you’re also working on your flexibility and just making sure that you’re kind of getting a combination of activities, and not just doing the same thing over and over and over again.”

For those working from home and not able to complete full workouts, Zimmerman provided some solutions.

   “What typically ends up happening is, people take a few more breaks within their day, so maybe some shorter … rounds of exercise,” Zimmerman said. “Or just getting up from your computer, or a desk where you might be sitting, and moving around, doing a few sit-ups, a few push-ups here and there.”

   While short breaks might not be as taxing as full workouts, Zimmerman said they are still beneficial.

   “Overall for the day, it may not amount to any more time than doing a full hour at a time,” Zimmerman said. “But, you know… five or six times of 10 minutes here and there would probably be really beneficial.”

   Jennifer Perryman, the head NHS girls basketball Coach, says that apps can help with certain kinds of exercise.

   “Nike’s got a really good workout app … depending on what exercise you want to do, there’s an app for that,” Perryman said. “[For] people who are trying to work on their cardio, there are several running apps that really help.”

   Middleton and Zimmerman both say that working out with someone else, or even several others can help with accountability for exercising.

   “Get a partner, or like, a group of people, that can help hold you accountable and keep you motivated… That typically helps people be more successful.” Zimmerman said. 

   Middleton says that the reason why could be instinctual.

   “We as people are relational,” Middleton said. “And simply the idea of being able to talk with somebody else and workout with somebody else tends to motivate a person …”

   BMI, which stands for body mass index, is a way to determine obesity from one’s weight and height. Zimmerman says to be careful if using it, though, because it is not an accurate representation of physical fitness.

   “BMI is tricky,” Zimmerman said. “BMI just takes into account numbers, it doesn’t take into account what’s represented by those numbers. So, for example, a person who is morbidly obese, could have the same BMI as a bodybuilder, because their muscle mass is so high.”