Graphic By Evelyn Shue
The cold temperatures and scattered snow days characteristic of the winter months often leave students unable to prioritize staying active or going outdoors. Many students turn to PE or winter sports for physical activity, but indoor exercise is no longer the ideal solution it once was because of Covid-19.
Having weighed these risks, many agree that participating in school sports is worthwhile. “I feel pretty safe because indoor track is an outdoor sport, even though the name is kind of ironic in that way,” junior Cate Christopher said. “So there is more space between students and airflow is better.”
“I also really like participating in a PE class like weight training because it carves out a dedicated time in your everyday life to get a workout in, which guarantees that I will stay active even when I am busy after school,” freshman Caroline Kaye said.
For those who do not get the opportunity to exercise at school, there are plenty of other activities that can be enjoyed in the winter months. “My favorite winter sport is probably ice skating,” junior Mckenna Simcox said. “I like how you don’t even notice you’re working out since it’s so leisurely, but also fun.” Although winter sports are not always as accessible, the fact that they are seasonal makes them appealing and memorable. “I do like snowboarding on my own time though I don’t go as often as I would like,” Christopher said.
With the winter often being the busiest period for students, heavy workloads become yet another barrier to staying active. “I… always find myself unmotivated during the winter as well, and balancing school and working out can be hard,” Simcox said. Since physical activity is linked to improvements in both mental health and academic performance, according to CDC data, this can create a vicious cycle and cause more frustration for students.
Also, many students have been limited by the number of snow days that the region has experienced, as sidewalks, roads, and parks become more hazardous and gyms become inaccessible. “Snow limits the amount we drive, and usually the places where people work out are driving, not walking, distances away,” Simcox said.
Despite this, those who notice that they are struggling to stay active in their sports or in general during the winter months should not be discouraged, considering that the current situation has placed unfamiliar restrictions on students. Learning to adapt to the combination of the cold, snow days, and Covid is an ongoing process, and students will inevitably grow from it.