As Kean students reclaim their routines for the fall semester, they're now faced not just with the traditional challenges of classes, jobs, social lives and so forth, but also with adapting to a largely remote world. A majority of the university's classes are being held online for safety, as well as organization events and informational sessions - but throughout all these changes, students are silently tasked with creating new routines to maintain their health and physical fitness.
Particularly at a time when health is in the forefront of everyone's concerns, finding smart ways to stay active and healthy are critical to success in academics and the rest of students' lives. Keeping the body and mind in great condition is an effort in both physical and mental exercise. What's more, as the weather shifts into the cold of fall and winter, finding ways to stay active and consistent mentally will become even more challenging.
There are a seemingly infinite variety of ways to exercise. Whether by running, walking, biking, taking up martial arts, playing recreational sports or some other practice, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 75 to 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every week. Online workout classes can help to stay focused on this element of a routine - which is even easier now that so much of the world has adapted to quarantine. Further, taking the time to stand up from one's desk and walk when possible during the day, rather than staying sedentary, can help one's blood flow, one's focus and one's productivity.
The state of New Jersey allowed gyms and health clubs to re-open on Sept. 1 at 25 percent normal capacity; however, not everyone has a gym membership, and for many students, class and work schedules make it difficult to attend them. Those that ordinarily might attend their gym may not this fall because of the decrease in capacity and their own health priorities. However, these are hardly hindrances. It's easy to get a great workout without leaving one's home and without buying expensive equipment. Healthline details dozens of easy and advanced at-home exercises that require nothing more than a chair and one's choice of a workout mat for comfort, most of which use one's own bodyweight to create resistance and break a sweat. As an added bonus, these kinds of internalizing workouts can benefit one's mental health as well.
But staying healthy when it's a challenge isn't just about the ways one chooses to stay active. It's also paramount that students remember to carve out time to relax. Meditation and entertainment can help clear one's mind to stay productive, and yoga is a great way to be active, meditate and relax all at once. Many of Kean's student organizations and other communities are promoting ways for students to get active directly. The Office of Residential Student Services plans to host Virtual Yoga on Thursday, Oct. 1, and the Liberty Hall Museum will host Yoga in the Gardens on Saturday, Oct. 3 (as well as other Saturdays during the fall).
And no assessment of health could be complete without a focus on diet. A nutritious and reliable diet can help students maintain their focus in remote classes and throughout their homework, as well as throughout the rest of their days. The WHO outlines the many ways in which remotely-learning students (as well as anyone who's been working from home) can prioritize and improve their diets for great results: making a detailed plan for dieting, cooking meals, limiting salts and sugars more than usual, staying hydrated and many other tactics can help curb the effects of being less active outside and around campus and our communities than we ordinarily would be.
Students give themselves the best chance to perform well scholastically and in the community by keeping themselves healthy in a variety of ways. Whichever they choose, every method means staying focused on their bodies and minds as tools of their success. For more events focusing on wellness, visit Cougar Link for regular updates.