COVID-19 doesn’t stop the Xavier rec sports grind

Quarantine Wellness Kit helps students maintain tness during stay-at-home

With more than half of all-states closing down fitness centers due to the spread of COVID-19, Xavier’s Rec Sports staff has come up with initiatives to keep students active at home, including the utilization of Zoom for fitness classes.

The Xavier community is joining millions of Americans who have taken to at-home workouts. The Rec Sports staff has been hard at work over the past month compiling resources and organizing creative initiatives to keep the Xavier nation active from home.

More than half of all states (Ohio included) have closed fitness centers due to the spread of COVID-19. 

As a result, the Health United Building had to close its doors in mid-March after a mere eight weeks of operation. 

“I truly have an amazing team,” said Director of Recreational Sports, Leslie Dulle. “Every single one of my pro staff has stepped up in so many ways.”

Rec Sports has created a Quarantine Wellness Kit, which was posted on the organization’s website, for maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the pandemic. It has links to free fitness apps, the virtual group exercise schedule as well as resources for spiritual and emotional wellbeing. 

Dulle said so far the initiative has received quality feedback from users. 

In addition to this webpage, Rec Sports has relied heavily on social media to remain connected to the campus community through challenges and Instagram takeovers. 

Mackenzie McIntyre, the coordinator of fitness and wellness, talked about how her role has changed since the outbreak. 

“A lot of my job has shifted to producing social media content now more than ever to promote these programs and engage our students in a way that meets them where they are,” she said. 

McIntyre also oversees the six Rec Sports fitness classes which have persisted for at-home use. The fitness instructors lead the class on Zoom from their home and then post the class on YouTube for future reference.  

“We have seen moderate engagement in our programs, but I consider moderate engagement to be good engagement in times like these,” McIntyre explained, noting a range of three to 25 participants per Zoom class. 

“We recognize that many students may be struggling with a variety of things during this time and that being engaged online for a fitness class may not be their top priority. That’s okay. Our goal is really to provide an outlet for the students who are seeking opportunities to stay engaged with the Xavier community,” McIntyre said .

One such fitness instructor is student Claire Fischer, the leader of the Resistance Bands and Core Zoom class. 

“Teaching a class online isn’t too difficult, but it does feel a bit awkward just talking to a computer rather than a class full of people. It’s also hard to know if anyone can hear me or needs any help with any of the exercises,” she said. 

Regardless of their non-traditional feeling, Fischer still believes these fitness classes provide a semblance of normalcy.

“Even if it’s just taking a walk during the day or doing some stretching, it’s important to dedicate some time for yourself and take your mind off of more stressful things,” she said. 

McIntyre echoed these thoughts about the importance of staying active. 

“I think that staying active during this time provides you with a mental release from whatever your day to day routine looks like,” she said. “It’s a chance to make time that’s just for you and honoring your body’s natural inclination to move and play.” 

For Dulle, these efforts  also serve as a way to stay connected during these difficult times.

“Our overarching message has been that we are still here for the students. Even remotely, our goal is to provide those co-curricular experiences that create a sense of belonging,” she said.

An example of this was the Step Challenge, a week-long competition against the University of Cincinnati’s (UC) Rec Sports to see which program could log the most steps. Xavier defeated UC and proceeded to challenge other Ohio institutions. 

Xavier, 13 other Ohio universities and the Ohio Women’s Correctional System are all partaking in the challenge. Xavier students can submit their steps from now until the end of the week. 

“Staying active is imperative to our mental health always but it is even more important now,” Dulle said. “I want the Xavier nation to know that we have to take care of ourselves during this crazy time and all aspects of our wellbeing matter. If (Rec Sports) can help with even a small part of that, we have been successful.”