Students make room for fitness


Davi Jacobs

Although students have a lot to balance, many still make it a priority to get some physical activity in their day.

Ellie Noh , Features writer

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a vital component to sustain proper health and well-being. Several studies reveal that physical health is heavily connected to mental health. Slight improvements to exercise, sleep, nutrition, and habits can create a substantial difference in the long run.

The COVID-19 pandemic created numerous obstacles in fitness journeys due to cancellations of sports activities. “Covid prevented me from participating in sports teams. Club soccer practices were held over Zoom, and they were much less interactive than in-person practices. I missed the atmosphere of working out with my teammates,” sophomore Lily Kerchner said. 

Sophomore Lianna Meklir was also forced to adjust her typical workouts as a result of the pandemic. “I found creative ways to exercise in Covid-safe manners. I started going on walks, runs, and bike rides throughout my neighborhood. My high school softball season was also unconventional since we had a shortened season and were required to wear masks while practicing,” Meklir said.

On the other hand, school-wide Vice President junior Jake Lee found the pandemic to be beneficial to his fitness journey since he had a prolonged amount of time to workout. “I have a set up with adjustable dumbbells, a bench, yoga mat, and ab rollers. I tried to work out three times a day with weights, and go walking, running, or biking like at least every two days,” Lee said. Lee continues to stay active, and anticipates biking to DC with friends following the spring weather.

Additionally, local gyms’ businesses and operations greatly suffered in response to COVID-19. “We had a significant number of customers cancel their membership, and we were forced to close for four months. [The pandemic] hurt our business immensely,” Sarah Escalona from The North Bethesda Sport and Health said. Furthermore, Sport and Health made their best attempts to prevent the spread of Covid within the gym. “We installed air purifiers to constantly filter and clean the air circulation, increased house-keeping staff, and supplied customers with towels to wipe down surfaces,” Escalona said. 

Currently, Sport and Health gym is still making efforts to move back in the right direction. “Our hours of business are shorter than our pre-Covid hours. Also, many individuals who withdrew their membership during Covid never returned since they found alternative methods to work out,” Escalona said.

Freshman Juliana Wong participates in the JROTC program (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps), and attends Magruder High School for the program during first period and commutes back to RM for the rest of the school day. “We learn about leadership, military life, and other days we train in preparation to be in the army one day. We train through sprints, push-ups, pull-ups, curls, and tireflips. I love being a part of the program, and I’ve made lifelong friends there that share the same interests and future goals as me,” Wong said. 

In the future, Wong aspires to be a lawyer in the army for twenty years, and subsequently become a civilian lawyer following her retirement from the army. 

Wong also competes in competitions within the JROTC, competing against other students in the program. “We perform a truck pull, tire flips, run 5 miles, complete an obstacle course, and timed push-ups and sit-ups at competitions,” Wong described. 

This extreme physical exertion wears Wong out sometimes. “It can be very physically draining, and some days I feel like my legs are going to fall off. But the program has considerably increased my agility and strength, and I enjoy training and competing alongside all my friends,” she reflected.

Sophomore Jillian Hilwig is a three-season athlete, participating in cheer during fall and winter seasons, and track during the spring season.

Preparation differs for specific sports to maximize practices and train essential areas of the body. “For cheer, we do a lot of conditioning such as running stairs, ab, leg, and arm workouts to gain strength and endurance for stunting. Whereas for track, we just do ab workouts and running to obtain endurance for meets,” Hilwig said. “I’ve struggled this year with mental blocks, especially at strenuous practices. But, I’ve really grown in my mental toughness,” Hilwig said.

Although it’s challenging at times to remain consistent, caring for your body is crucial to promote happiness, resist mental health problems and enhance quality of life. With   determination and a strong mindset, begin your fitness journey today!