Week in Review: Staying Active in Quarantine

Kasey Corra '22, Co Assistant Editor-in-Chief

With April Break finally cresting the horizon, the Montrose community has settled into a very strange new routine. The novelty of quarantine has worn off, and students and faculty alike are searching for ways to stay productive and patient. For most, this means making time to exercise during the day.

Each person has their own motivations for getting out the door; some are driven by step challenges or staying in shape for a sport, and some are just bored. Whatever the reason, the coronavirus has placed an interesting spotlight on the importance of exercise. With little else to do, exercise provides an opportunity to feel productive, get away from the screen, and get outside. In a recent poll, the majority of Montrose students reported that they are making use of workout videos and step challenges nearly every day to stay active and motivated. 

If you haven’t been exercising much, don’t worry! Girls also voted that they’re having a hard time committing to any sort of exercise routine, and it’s no secret that there’s more self-control to exercising than simply throwing on a jacket and stepping outside. Despite a lack of motivation, there are plenty of opportunities that the Montrose community has adopted to stay active during social isolation.

Mavericks on the Move: Quarantine Competition at its Finest

On March 13, the Friday after school closed, Mrs. Boynton and Mrs. Bettinelli were hard at work brainstorming ways to keep the Montrose community connected and active. The concept they formulated was genius: a school-wide step competition with a twist every week. “The majority of the faculty and students have a way to count their steps, so we decided to create some friendly competition that wasn’t just for athletes,” Mrs. Boynton said. An average of 35 girls use their phones, FitBits, and Apple watches throughout the day and upload a screenshot onto a Google Drive at 8 PM each night. 

By far the most intense battle of the step challenge so far occurred during the Week 2 partner challenge. Teachers, students, and staff paired up for a shot at victory, and the results were unbelievable. Maevis Fahey and Anna Sheehan ‘21 shocked everyone; they averaged 21,000 steps a day… each! “Once I saw what we could do the first few days of the challenge, I set a personal challenge to maintain the pace I was at,” Maevis said. “Anna and I are both really competitive, and we really bonded by encouraging each other when we were feeling unmotivated.” Needless to say, the champion duo left those vying for a spot on the podium very disappointed. 

Mrs. Boynton encourages everyone to check out Mavericks on the Move, even if they’re not sure they can attain the magnificence that was the Fahey-Sheehan collab. “The point of Mavericks on the Move is just to get people outside and active. It’s been amazing to see all the middle schoolers who are staying really enthusiastic about the competition each week.” Stay tuned for more step challenges from the Athletics Department over April Break!

Sports in Isolation: How to Practice Without a Team 

While competing in sports games or meets of any sort seems far away, many girls are still motivated to better themselves for the next time they can play. “It was really hard at first,” reflected Colleen Casey ‘22, “I’m used to doing all my workouts in a team setting, so I kind of have to re-learn how to motivate myself.” Colleen’s elite soccer team has been doing workouts remotely, with simple guidelines to keep them in shape. “I obviously can’t practice with my team, but I’ve been going to Miracle Field a lot and shooting around there. I’m mainly focusing on improvement. I realize that the work I’m putting in will make me better. I want to be as ready as possible when we can play again, so I’m really pushing myself now.” 

Montrose sports teams are also motivating each other to continue playing despite social isolation. The track team assigned “virtual running buddies”: middle and high school girls were paired to check in with each other and keep motivated over quarantine. “Our coach posted workouts on our team page, and we hope that the buddy system will help girls stay driven and fit in case we get to compete at some point,” said Track Captain Gabriella Bachiochi ‘21. While the track team had held a few weeks of practice before quarantine, the JV and Varsity Lacrosse teams were in a trickier situation. Athletic Director and Varsity Lacrosse Coach Mrs. Boynton reflected on their challenges as a team: “When we moved to online learning, our lacrosse girls hadn’t even had tryouts yet. Now that we’re probably going to be in this for the long haul, I’m really going to lean on the captains to keep fostering a team environment, even if we have to do it virtually,” she said. In the meantime, girls are making use of skill videos, rebounders, and little brothers to sharpen lacrosse skills on their own. 

Montrose athletes aren’t the only ones antsy for some healthy competition. The New England Preparatory School Track Association, or NEPSTA, scheduled three virtual track meets to be held during quarantine. Essentially, athletes will time themselves on a road or track in an event and upload their times into a Google Folder. As a member of NEPSTA, the Montrose track team encourages any students to participate, even if they have never competed in the sport previously. The meets will happen April 24-26, May 8-10, and May 22-24. Look for an email from Mrs. Boynton for more details, and good luck!

Adjusting to Quarantine-Friendly Exercise 

While individual exercise is certainly better than nothing, it can get lonely without the constant encouragement and that one teammate’s fire Spotify playlist. Montrose girls have had to find other ways to stay entertained during various runs and strength workouts. “I’ve gotten really into podcasts — it takes my mind off the run, and I find it more engaging to listen to than music,” said Gabriella ‘21. What got Maevis through her phenomenal step-competition performance? “I listened to audiobooks on my walks and runs during the week; the book was this incredible story about a prisoner of war during World War II. I was so inspired to keep going because the book put my situation in perspective,” she said. 

Amidst a time when teammates and friends are fiercely missed, the opportunity for family exercise may provide some motivation when it seems to be lacking. Neha Sunkara ‘21 reflected on the benefits of quarantine exercise in her family. “The time I spend with my parents, playing volleyball, and walking is really the only time we see each other during the day. Exercising with my parents is the best way to connect with them right now; we’re together and away from the screen. It’s my favorite part of the day,” she said. If close quarters mean that there’s sometimes too much family time, exercise offers a temporary escape from the craziness. Taking time for fresh air and some space can help avoid arguments and leave yourself ready to take on what waits for you at home. 

Quarantine also provides an opportunity to try new activities. “I’ve started to do yoga in the mornings — I follow a yoga YouTuber who is really great with beginners. She’s super encouraging and it’s great to focus on my wellness right when I wake up,” Neha ‘21 said. Be open to new ways to stay busy and moving: pull out that random Razor scooter in your garage, run to the park you’ve always wanted to go to, learn how to crush your family in Spikeball. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a passion for a sport that you never knew existed before!

 Get After It!

Despite the limitations of social isolation, there are still ample opportunities to stay active. But there’s a reason why New Year’s Resolutions hardly ever last: the motivation often slips away as soon as January 7th. “During the first three or four weeks of online learning, everything’s new. Now, people are falling into the routine and losing motivation because it’s not as exciting anymore — it’s easy to get into a slump,” said Mrs. Boynton. That being said, the best way to start exercising is to develop a routine. Set a goal to just get outside once or twice a day. Pick a time of day — mornings, Enrichment, or after classes — and try to always be active at that time. When an activity is built into the day, the habit will stick. “I try not to see it as a burden and instead something I’m doing for myself; it’s something I want to do,” said Maevis ‘21.

Out of all the plentiful reasons and scientific studies about the benefits of exercise, one motivation stands alone. “I just feel really good afterwards,” Gabriella ‘21 reflected. Regardless of the activity, an elevated heart rate and change of scenery never fail to improve morale in a time when it is desperately needed. 

Kasey Corra ’22, Co Assistant Editor-in-Chief