The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a strong force in 2020, but a few Iowa State students are choosing to make light of social distancing by staying active.
Grace Millsap, sophomore in kinesiology and health, said her workouts help her feel refreshed after doing her coursework.
“I start my mornings by completing all of my schoolwork for that day,” Millsap said. “I work out after I finish. [...] This helps reset my brain after I do my homework.”
For her workouts, Millsap likes running on the nature trails near her home and following along with videos made by fitness YouTubers on a yoga mat in her bedroom. She also enjoys an occasional Rollerblade ride.
“I believe that my workouts have helped me succeed in school because it recharges my mind after putting it through strain for most of the day,” Millsap said. “I become frustrated with my siblings [because] we have been spending a lot of time together, so I love spending time alone when I am on a run.”
Alexis Banks, sophomore in pre-architecture, has also crafted a personalized workout schedule while in quarantine. Since the university’s closure, Banks said she has been focusing on her cardio and strength training.
“I work out about five to six times per week, Monday to Saturday in the mornings,” Banks said. “Saturday is less intense and Sunday is my day of rest. [...] Every once in a while, I try something new and run in town or around the track at the high school in my hometown.”
Exercising has been a key component to managing stress, Banks said. Her routine helps her remain focused and calm when her workload feels overwhelming.
“My workouts have been beneficial to me because [...] it is a time for my mind to take a break and focus on something other than classes and homework,” she said. “If I am stressed with some homework, I can go for a walk to clear my mind and then get back to work.”
Staying active is an excellent way to manage stress, anxiety and depression, according to an article written by researchers at the Mayo Clinic. Regularly exercising increases the flow of endorphins and boosts overall mood.
Millsap started her fitness journey recently and has stayed motivated throughout her time at home. “I looked in the mirror and told myself, ‘I can do it.’ [...] It will not happen overnight or in a week. It might take months, but it’ll be worth it.”
Banks recommends keeping track of workouts and looking back at the progress you’ve made along your individual journey.
“I made an Instagram account to keep me accountable, because it gives me the opportunity to see how far I have come and been able to log everything I do,” Banks said. “It’s fun to post every day and I have gotten very positive responses from everyone that follows it."