Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Teacher Wellness: Sneak Some Cardio Into Your Distance Learning Day

 

COVID has forced us to sit through countless meetings on video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet. Often times, we are simply sitting there, jotting down notes without any physical activity. When we are not in meetings, we are doing lesson design and teaching classes using the same platforms. 

Whether in meetings or teaching, there isn't much time for any physical activity. A colleague of mine does daily walks up and down the corridor during lunch. That works for them, but to get our blood flowing and heart pumping, we have to be creative. Below are three ideas I use weekly for sneaking in some cardio to help combat the lack of physical activity during distance learning and teaching.

Portable Exercise Under Desk Pedal Bike

It's been said that "sitting is the new smoking". When I am attending meetings on Zoom or Google Meet, it dawned on me that I need to find a way to sit less and move more. A friend of mind recently sent me a picture of his under desk pedal bike. It was an epiphany. Such a device can allow me to participate in the meeting and sneak in some physical activity. 

Under desk pedal bikes fit right under a desk, and while you're sitting during a video call, you can pedal while participating in the meeting. Some models cost hundreds of dollars, but there is no need to break the bank. Below are two pictures of the pedal bike that sits under my desk. It cost only $39. Click here to find this model on Amazon. Since I bought this, I frequently add 20-30 "move minutes" a day to my fitness tracking app. One thing to be aware of is your desk height. If it sits too low, you can hit your knees.


Step Ups

Back in my days as a college soccer player at Fresno Pacific University and when I participated in Crossfit, step ups were a frequent exercise. Those days are long gone, but I still have a plyo box from my Crossfit days. In between video calls or when kids are playing Quizizz during a synchronous lesson, I sneak in 10-20 step ups. Step ups will get your heart pumping quickly and you'll feel that burn in your quads and calves. If you don't have a plyo box lying around, a chair will suffice. 


Simple Soccer Moves

Step Over

Below you see soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo using this move to evade an opponent.


The Step Over is a simple soccer move used to quickly change direction and deceive an opponent. To execute this move, stand with both feet on one side of the ball. With the foot farthest from the ball, step around the ball. The inside of your foot should "curve" around the ball without touching the ball. Your other foot should step/drag behind the ball without touching it. Once on the other side of the ball, repeat these same steps. Doing step overs back and forth for 30-60 seconds, in place, will get your heart pumping in between Zoom and Google Meet calls. If you don't have a soccer ball, a water bottle will do the trick. Watch my feet in the video below.


Scissors

Below you will see scissors done by a soccer player while in motion. 


Scissors is the more famous sibling of the step over. It is a more natural motion and easier to do when in motion. Like the step over, it is a move soccer players use to quickly change direction and evade opponents. To perform the scissors move, stand with both feet on one side of the ball. Use the foot that is closest to the ball to step around the ball. The outside of that foot will curve around the front of the ball while the the other foot steps/drags behind the all bringing you to the other side of the ball. Once on other side, repeat the same steps. Always use the foot closest to the ball to step around the front of the ball without touching it. Like step overs, if you don't have a soccer ball, a water bottle will suffice. Watch my feet in the GIF below.


The ideas displayed are just the tip of the iceberg. Any way you can sneak in some cardio to your day is a good thing. The trick is to find what works for you in your situation. If you have some cools ideas for sneaking in some cardio to your distance learning workday, please share them with me. I'd love to see them.

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