Students stay active during the pandemic to balance their mental and physical health

From soaking in nature by going on outdoor runs like junior Natalie Buerger, to driving up to Tahoe for a day of snowboarding like senior Bella Goodwin, many San Marin students have continued to stay active during the pandemic. Some students share how sports are their favorite form of exercise, but with lasting limitations, have instilled new routines. Others have taken a less habitual approach, doing what they can, when they can, whether it be by swimming, horseback riding, hiking, etc. 

For senior Ella Rubey, this was setting up a home gym and getting to work not only on her physical strength, but her mental health as well. Rubey describes how her routines and motivations have changed throughout quarantine from cardio heavy workouts to strength training, something that she feels has benefited her greatly. 

“I did a lot of home workouts at the start of quarantine, mostly focusing on my abs and arms but once I got serious about weight training, I then really started focusing on my body as a whole,” Rubey said. “I also try to hike one day a week on one of my rest days just to activate my muscles.” 

Rubey has recently gotten into weight training to improve her mental health and is feeling stronger on the inside and out. She said how one of the most gratifying parts about changing up her routine has been achieving things she never thought possible. Some of her favorite exercises include deadlifts, power cleans, and lateral pull downs, as well as ab movements such as planks and v-ups. 

Over the past couple of months, Rubey has found more balance in her life between pushing her limits and knowing when to slow down and give her body time to rest. 

“Everyday I try my best to give it my all and sometimes my body isn’t feeling good or I’m sore and other days I bust out reps on top of reps like it’s nothing,” Rubey said. “I work day by day and I honestly just love to see improvement, it makes me feel awesome that I am doing stuff that I never thought I could.”

Yet for some, transitioning to new routines has proven to be difficult. Junior Sally Ćesko’s favorite way to stay active is through playing sports. Ćesko plays volleyball, basketball, and participates in multiple track and field events including high jump, long jump, triple jump, discus, and pole vaulting. Conditioning for these sports includes running and high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. Ćesko initially had a consistent workout schedule, but started to hit a loss when volleyball and soccer cohorts ended. 

“Now I haven’t really been doing anything,” Ćesko said. “When I was in P.E., I would watch YouTube workout videos to get my exercise, and I actually really liked them, but it’s just hard to stay motivated. I’m trying to get back into that now.” 

Due to constraints being online, the Physical Education (P.E.) program at San Marin has implemented their curriculum by requiring students to log runs, participate in workout videos, and ultimately give students tools to pursue physical fitness independently. Along with reintegrating some of these routines as the second semester progresses, Ćesko is looking forward to playing sports again senior year. Ćesko is especially excited about getting back into pole vaulting, something Ćesko became interested in since the Terra Linda High School coach offered Ćesko lessons last year. 

Like Ćesko, junior Bailey Bernales is a huge fan of playing sports to get her blood pumping. She has played a number of sports including volleyball and basketball, but she also enjoys running in her free time. She has been running from a young age and has especially gotten into it the past couple years as a way to take a break from social media and get outdoors. 

“The feeling after a good run is always worth it to me which has brought me so much love for it,” Bernales said.

Bernales has been running two to four miles per day and hopes to participate in a 10k run when it is safe to do so. She wants to take part in the Marin County 10k by late October and has her eyes set on the seven mile Emerald Bay Trail Run in Tahoe as well. 

While many students have stayed active during quarantine through running like Bernales and circuit training like Rubey, sophomore Jesse Chi has hit the trails with his bike. He finds that riding gives him an opportunity to see his friends in a safe environment and get in a good amount of exercise. Some of Chi’s favorite trails are Mt. Burdell for its variety in terrain and Big Rock Ridge near San Rafael. 

“I want to improve my biking skills so I can go on more challenging and fun rides, and hopefully get back to improving my tennis,” Chi said. 

Aside from mountain biking Chi has stayed active by walking, hiking with his family, and playing tennis. Chi mentioned that because the spring tennis season got cut short he has played significantly less than he has wanted, but hopes to get back into it soon. 

Though San Marin students have been forced to drastically reduce their time playing sports, many have managed to continue to stay active through such limiting times. For some, developing a routine has been difficult. For others, quarantine has given them a chance to self reflect and grow in their physical abilities more than they ever had before. Yet there is one thing most students have in common: staying active has given them something productive to do.  

“Exercise helps me not feel existential or hopeless about the pandemic or other events,” Chi said. 

The San Marin community uses improvisation and creativity to get their blood pumping during quarantine.
Ella Ruby
Senior Ella Rubey performs one of her favorite exercises, the dead-lift. During quarantine, Rubey has gotten into weight training to benefit both her physical and mental health.

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