Office of Student Life

Recreational Sports

Moving More, Sitting Less: Increasing Your Physical Activity in an Online ‘Zoom’iverse

January 14, 2021

Moving More, Sitting Less: Increasing Your Physical Activity in an Online ‘Zoom’iverse

We are at the start of a new year, and to say the least, it’s been a unique experience. At large, most classes have transited to an online format. This transition has forced students to lose one of the most integral components of the college campus experience: Walking to class. One of the benefits of a large campus like Ohio State is that the daily walks to class are ‘built in’ moments of physical activity. While yes, removing this chunk of the day may save time, students are now moving less, experiencing campus less and sitting more. Hallie Burke, Lead Personal Trainer, shares four tips for how you can increase your daily movement!

Wake Up 30 Minutes Early

The thought of waking up early may not sound appealing, but simply getting out of bed thirty minutes earlier than normal can add an immense amount of value towards your day. Use this time to go for a walk outside, work on chores around the house, take a bike ride...all activities that will start your day with a burst of physical activity. According to Healthline, walking 30 minutes per day can improve your mood, sharpen mental clarity, help you sleep better at night and promotes healthier choices throughout the day. With so much of our days being spent online and on the couch or at our desks, taking this time for yourself in the morning allows you to set yourself up for success before your task list has even started. To incorporate walks into your daily routine, you may find it helpful to set your clothes out the night before, find a scenic trail nearby and even ask a friend to come along with you.

Incorporate Walking into Your Commute

Without the daily built in walking commute from building to building, it is easy to forget the value of traveling by foot as a mode of transportation. Even when students had class in-person, walking far distances may have meant taking the CABS or COTA bus instead. I have always found it more beneficial to walk to my classes, no matter how far. For example, instead of taking the bus to a class in the Gateway Movie Theater, I took a brisk 20 minute walk every morning. This time allowed me to clear my thoughts, listen to good music and take in the sights of the city around me before a lengthy lecture. Now, with more planning, we can continue to emulate this. While it may be more convenient to drive or take the bus to run an errand, think about walking there instead. The benefits of walking or biking versus driving benefit both you and the environment you live in, with the reduction of gas emission from cars. It is a win-win situation.

Take Breaks Between Classes

Especially as the start of the semester is virtual, you might be feeling trapped staring at the computer screen for hours at a time. From class to class, and then assignment after assignment, you can blink and all of a sudden eight hours on the computer have flashed by. While there is nothing inherently wrong with sitting, prolonged hours on the couch can leave you mentally fatigued and lead to developing soreness in your hips. Furthermore, studies have shown an increase in sedentary behavior within adults (a common occurrence when transitioning from college to a workforce largely revolved around desk jobs) can compromise metabolic health, such as adverse blood- glucose and lipid profiles. Finding movement between classes can be as simple as stretching between lectures, taking a 10-minute walk between studying topics, walking around the house while taking a phone call or just standing up for a few minutes every hour. Not only will this movement benefit your physical health, but it will equally give your mind a chance to ‘relax and reset’ amidst your academics.

Find the Time to Exercise

Finding time to exercise in the day has, and will, continue to be a value Student Life Recreational Sports promotes. In my opinion, now is the most important time to establish a healthy routine that promotes activity and wellness. The world’s current situation has taken some aspect of ‘normal life’ from a majority of people, and in response to this, has had a vastly negative affect on our country’s mental health. While there continues to be so many unknowns, it is important to establish what you can control in your environment: Your response to challenges thrown your way, your health and your happiness. This is why I believe focusing on, not only the physical benefits of exercise, but the mental health benefits as well (maybe even more so than physical right now), is crucial to maintain some sort of stability in a seemingly changing daily life. 

Looking for guidance and/or excursive routine ideas? Follow @osurec on Instagram and Twitter and check out the programs offered through Personal Training and Group Fitness. Our bodies need and crave movement, and though we may be currently limited in some ways, we still have the ability to put an effort towards our physical and mental health every day.

By Hallie Burke, Lead Personal Trainer