Sports and the benefits they have with these unprecedented times

Eleventh+grade+cross+country+runner+Veronica+Soroka+runs+in+a+recent+race+which+helps+her+take+a+break+from+school+and+enjoy+the+fresh+air.+

Christy Jimenez

Eleventh grade cross country runner Veronica Soroka runs in a recent race which helps her take a break from school and enjoy the fresh air.

Rachel Sandstrom, Staff Writer

With the combination of stress during online school and the anxiety of a pandemic looming over everyone’s heads, exercise is more important now than ever. Many students are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed, and one way to help cope with these feelings is physical exercise. According to “The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise” article, exercise “relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins.” 

For junior lacrosse player Alyssa Carlson, playing has helped her greatly during this unusual semester. “Lacrosse has helped me because when I’m playing I don’t think about anything else, it gives me something to do because school makes me feel so drained and it’s so good to just relax your mind,” she says. Using lacrosse as a distraction has helped Carlson clear her head which helps ease the stress of everyday life. 

The social aspect of sports has also helped students immensely. Interacting with others helps students feel less alone and keeps them sane after having almost no social interaction outside of their family during the day. High school football trainer Katie Wheeler talks about how football has helped some of the players during these times, saying “practice still runs pretty much the same so it’s like a safe space for a lot of people where they don’t have to worry about schoolwork or being at home all day.” Being stuck in one place all day is not the most enjoyable or healthiest thing to do and sports get students out and about and allows them to interact with others. 

In addition to football benefitting the players in the midst of these confusing times, Wheeler comments on how being a football trainer has helped her, “It’s a great way for me to see my friends face to face while also getting to do something productive other than school.” Training has benefited her in the same ways playing has for the players. She uses it to take a break from school and interact with others which helps her de-stress, creating a clear mind for when she does have to continue schoolwork. 

Getting outside is an added plus to sports. The fresh air is a nice change of pace from a stuffy bedroom with nothing to look at but a computer screen. Junior cross country runner Veronica Soroka agrees, explaining that she looks “forward to not having to sit on a screen for hours right after school.” Soroka goes on to say that “It also forces me to go outside because sometimes I forget and being outside is obviously really good for physical and mental health. School will slowly consume your day if you’re not careful, so having a sport to do will help break up your day.”

If you play a sport yourself and would like to help continue in this research of how sports have helped students cope with online school in the midst of a pandemic, take this brief survey.  In addition, if you want to learn about the psychology of students before going into a game/match/event and the thoughts that consume them as they play, check out Claire Mulkey’s article on just that.

Football players line up to start practice and are ready to take their minds off school for a little while and just do something they enjoy. Photo: Katie Wheeler