How the physical education department is staying fit during quarantine

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For many students and teachers, staying active and fit has been challenging during quarantine. All gyms across New York City are closed and physical education classes for students have transferred online. However, physical education teachers have helped students and staff overcome these obstacles by sharing their own routines and advice. 

Staying in shape through regular routines and exercises helps to maintain a healthy body. Health and aerobics teacher Maria Assante described activities that can be done at home: “It can be cleaning, standing, gardening, etc. Just get up and move a bit everyday.  Stretch your muscles, work your heart and lungs, and nurture your mind.” She also encourages mindful breathing because “a healthy mind breeds a healthy body and vice versa.”

It may be hard to find the motivation to stay active while everyone’s at home with limited space. “When you want something to happen you make it happen. Training in my basement is not the ideal place, however, I do it because I know it is good for me,” said weight training teacher and dean Robin Figelman. “There are always bumps in the road and it took me a while to get used to training alone,” she said. Despite her circumstances, she has managed to turn her basement into a gym where she continues to follow her training routine from her powerlifting coach. 

Quarantine is also giving a lot of time to focus on other things besides school. Athletic director Lauren Caiaccia said, “There is a lot of research that supports gardening as having tremendous health benefits to the mind, body, and soul. So I have made it a point to tend to my urban garden between three to four times a week. Now I’ll leave you with this famous Audrey Hepburn quote, ‘To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” 

The physical education teachers collectively made videos for the school community. One is a workout video where viewers can follow along and complete the set of exercises known as A.M.R.A.P. (As Many Reps As Possible). The other was a ball toss video, where the teachers each had different sports balls and passed it along to each other in different clips. The message at the end, which was highlighted throughout the video was “Townsend Harris Strong, New York Strong,” to encourage the community to stay positive during this pandemic.