News, Sports

Gym Teachers Encourage Healthy Habits

By Ruby Kazam ‘23, Staff Writer 

Since Heschel’s closure in early March, much of the Heschel community has stayed  trapped inside their homes, leading to a decrease in people’s activity. During these trying times, it is prudent that we remain as active as possible to continue to be healthy and fit, especially because most of our days consist of sitting by our desks staring at a screen. 

Though we are not currently in school, our Heschel physical education teachers are invested in making sure that students practice healthy habits in the absence of in-school gym class. The entire high school received a message from the gym department regarding their personal at-home exercise routines in the hopes that students would make an effort to stay fit. 

After receiving this message from the P.E. department, many students wondered if they were required to now exert themselves at home multiple times a week as an assignment. Physical Education Director Rick Munn explained that there is not a requirement for students to exercise, though it is necessary for human beings to do so. He referred to physical exertion as a healthy habit, not the chore many teenagers view it to be. These “healthy habits” not only include physical exertion, but exercising healthy eating and mental health habits. Munn mentioned that “you cannot outrun a bad diet.” He said that though one may look physically “fit” due to social standards, if one is unhealthy cardiovascularly one would not truly be fit. Jezel Rodriguez, one of our Heschel gym teachers, emphasized the importance of hydration. Rodriguez mentioned that drinking water can really impact how you feel, and emphasized that water is important in keeping the body functioning properly. 

Munn, as well as Rodriguez and Heschel gym teacher Megan Mckenna, suggested a few different routines that they themselves follow. Munn suggested cardiovascular workouts, such as running, walking and biking. Mckenna suggested beginning the workout with cardio as a warmup, not as the entire session. After a warm up of cardio, McKenna recommends doing exercise circuits in which each part of the body is worked followed by a cool down stretch or yoga. Lastly, Rodriguez recommends doing a routine that consists of high intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises such as mountain climbers and jumping jacks, where your own body serves as a machine. Rodriguez also recommends practicing throwing volleyballs or balls of any sort to improve hand-eye coordination. All agree that exercise bands are a great way to strengthen at home without using heavy weights.

In the midst of all the chaos and instability that COVID-19 has created, the Heschel gym department wants to make sure that we all stay positive when it comes to taking care of our bodies. Everybody has days where they don’t particularly want to go outside and run five miles. Munn notes that even on a day where one feels lethargic getting up to exercise is crucial, while McKenna mentions that starting to exercise regularly at a young age builds a life-long habit that contributes to future health.  Now is a great time to start.

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