Students often prioritize mental health and academic requirements over physical health. With the coronavirus still on the rise and changing campus situations, 2020 may be even more devastating for the physical health in students than in previous years.
Choosing online and hybrid courses gives students the freedom to attend class from wherever is most convenient for them. With students attending classes from their residences, foot travel to education buildings is almost eliminated. In previous years, an average college student at UND was attending 2-3 classes on campus a day. Now, a student may attend 1-2 a week if they are enrolled in hybrid or in person courses. Due to this cut back in on campus courses, students are losing the need to travel to classes on foot. For many, this may be the only time they go outside on a on a walk during their weekday.
The University of North Dakota is highly reviewed across the nation for having an incredible Wellness/Recreation Center. This year, attendance is extremely low. With the fear of the Coronavirus still hanging above students’ heads, many aren’t making frequent trips to the Wellness Center. The Center requires participants to be equipped with a rag and sanitizer while performing their activities. They are expected to wipe down all workout machines and equipment before and after use. When speaking with regular Wellness Center participants, they confirmed that students often got lazy or forgot to wipe down their workout equipment. With proper sanitization measures being a prime guideline of Covid-19, Wellness Center users have taken a step back.
For freshmen or first-time gym-goers, the Wellness Center can often be intimidating. In previous years, students often experienced some of their first trips to the Wellness alongside friends. Due to Covid-19, many dorm residents will explain that meeting peers is extremely difficult this year, due to the lack of socializing in residence halls, and many seniors will say that this is usually where they met some of their first friends. With students socializing less and becoming more isolated, trips to the Wellness Center may be uninviting. However, the Wellness offers many courses such as group cycling, yoga, Tabata, and weightlifting that can allow new students to become comfortable using equipment, as well as creating a safe environment for socializing. For students still hesitant about using the Wellness, or doing home workouts, virtual kickboxing, and Zumba.
Along with personal use of the Wellness Center, the facility offered a wide variety of Intramural sport competitions. This was a very popular option for physical activity for those that were not student athletes but were still interesting in playing their favorite sports. This year, UND is only doing a select few sports that are easy to social distance and involve less contact. These social distancing requirements have caused the elimination of some of UND’s most popular intramural sports. With hockey and basketball no longer on the registration list, these athletes are losing their opportunity to play and stay active. Aside from sporting intramurals, UND has recently created Esports and video gaming intramurals. These PC based intramurals take place in the Wellness Center’s Nexus Esports Facility. With this new form of competitions involving student’s favorite games, screen time rises, and physical activity levels fall.
Balance is difficult to maintain in the lifestyle of a college student. This year, online classes are keeping students confined to desks in their residences, and online gaming is becoming increasingly popular. With the coronavirus being a concern for some when considering the wellness center, students aren’t reaching for enough physical activity in a day. If students don’t find a way to address their physical health, they may be experiencing decreased energy levels, mental health, and an increase in health risks.
Brooke Kruger is a Dakota Student Opinion Writer. She can be reached at [email protected]