Move! Keeping Athletes Active in a World without Sports
These are difficult days for our world as we face the COVID-19 health crisis; In order to care for our own health and the well-being of others, we all must do our part to adhere to the recommended social distancing guidelines. While schools are closed and students engage in distance learning, Play Like a Champion reminds everyone that including physical activity in your schedule each day is extremely important. Daily rigorous activity is essential for your body, mind and soul. In addition to the physical health benefits of movement, a person's mental acuity gets a boost by increasing focus, concentration and attention to learning. Additionally, physical activity improves mental health, which is important to attend to during a time when it is normal to feel isolated, lonely, stressed, confused or depressed. What can you do?
You can MOVE! Since athletes are not able to play together with class/teammates, we may need to get creative with our home-based environment. Sometimes the easiest skills can be practiced solo and with little to no equipment: stairs can be used for calf raises, sprints, or modified lunges and push-ups; a sidewalk crack can be used to jump over side-to-side for agility training; a brick wall can be used to work on throwing accuracy or for wall-sits. Consider which of these suggested activities would be most fun for you and start moving:
Running around the block or neighborhood (for endurance training)
Interval training with sprints
Ride bikes with your family
Play catch with your family
Hit or throw into a net
Go for a 1 mile power walk
Fly a kite (and run with it)
Wall sits (4 sets for 30 seconds)
Play wall ball
Throw a ball or a frisbee for your pet
Skip to the end of your street and back
Play hopscotch (improves balance and coordination)
Yoga or Stretching (increases body flexibility)
Have your own personal dance party
*As many of these activities may take place outside and in public spaces, please be sure to follow the recommendations of local authorities and public health officials. While these are great ideas for the majority of people, some cities or individuals may have limitations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can also use multimedia to motivate you and facilitate physical activity. Go to YouTube or Instagram and search for your favorite activity, such as: Beach Body Kids Workouts Hip Hop Aerobics Cardio Dance Kickboxing Yoga Home Workout Pilates Home Workout We also recommend searching "home workouts" for your favorite sport, as many coaches have uploaded home training exercises and workout plans that may be perfect for achieving your goals. Make a goal to move EVERY DAY for at least 30 minutes total. Play Like a Champion’s GROW approach understands the importance of setting and tracking Goals for motivation. We have created this worksheet that you can use to set goals and track your physical activity each day of the week.
Your Mental & Spiritual Health is also Important! While we strive to maintain our physical health in a time of social distancing and isolation, it's also critical that we recognize the impact on mental health in athletes as well as our family and friends. The Association for Applied Sport Psychology put out an excellent blog with Tips for Athletes, Coaches, Parents and the Sports Community. We encourage you to check out their tips and information, including links to other great resources and reading on this topic. In addition to physical and mental health, we encourage you to set a daily goal of prayer in order to bolster your spiritual health in these days of uncertainty. Great options for prayer include the Rosary, reading scripture by practicing Lectio Divina, or finding other spiritual reading. During this Lenten season, you can combine both movement and prayer through the sports-themed Stations of the Cross (see an example here from a team exercise, you can do this on your own as well). There are also many places offering Daily Mass online while public masses are canceled in many places. It is certainly tempting to use screen time as a solution to keep yourself occupied, but it can be detrimental to your mood and energy when used for a prolonged period of time. Let’s all make a commitment to continue to Move, Grow and Pray "Like a Champion" Today... and Everyday.