Technology and Wellness in the Time of COVID-19

Technology and Wellness in the Time of COVID-19

by Mark Ralph, Physical and Health Education Team Leader

Since March this year when enhanced health and safety measures were introduced in Japan, many people have found that various lockdowns and preventative measures have made it challenging to maintain a regular fitness regime due to restrictions on movement, socializing, and venue use. 

The benefits of regular exercise are well documented, but the impact of regular exercise on mental wellbeing, particularly during this time are of equal importance. Maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle during this time supports resilience, reduces mental fatigue, improves sleep and is proven to lessen the impact of anxiety and depression in people of all ages.

However, amongst the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, and the challenges it presents, we are finding that people are becoming more and more creative with how they stay healthy and are now turning to technology more than ever to help them connect with others and achieve their wellness goals.

During Continuous Learning at YIS, students in our Physical and Health Education courses investigated various concepts surrounding wellness, with high school students consolidating their learning with a Wellness Project. This allowed students to explore an area of interest, and conduct research into topics such as ‘Fitness to Relax’ or ‘Fitness to Connect’. Very often these projects found technology to be a key factor in maintaining wellness and balance during this time.

Students in Grade 8 created an online community on Strava; an online and app-based fitness and movement platform, designed to connect and challenge athletes to achieve their goals and connect virtually. High School students Catherine and Julia,;

“Strava was a good strategy that allowed me to track my progress and improvement, it was nice to see others' activities and compare progress” - Catherine

“Having access and visibility to the exercises that my classmates completed, kept me motivated to work out if I hadn't done so that day. I would say that Strava keeps me connected with others and can be fun when giving others positive comments or even receiving them” - Julia

The creation of this community was preceded by the Staff Run Club on Strava. Together the members of both of these communities have amassed well over 1900km, in running alone. Whether you're just starting your fitness journey, a seasoned runner, or prefer a set of wheels over running shoes, apps like Strava have what you need to stay on track and motivated to hit your goals. The social interaction, the ability to track progress, see statistics and the accountability of posting your progress, all contribute to increased motivation during this time. 

Have a look at the fun and modern ways some of our students and staff stayed fit during Continuous Learning.

Since coming back to school, the Physical and Health Education department has been working hard to find the current fitness level of each student, and it is apparent that some students have not been able to maintain their fitness and health over this period due to the government’s Emergency Declaration and venue closures, among other reasons. Others however, have used this time to their advantage and have made excellent progress on their physical and mental wellbeing. We are acutely aware of the individual differences of our students, and are working on helping all students to develop their wellbeing here at school, and are encouraging them to continue this at home. 

Drawing on our school mission of Live, Learn, Lead, one part of our PE mission is that students and teachers live with an understanding and an appreciation of wellness. We too have adopted more technology to enhance what our program offers. This has led to the creation of the YIS PHE ‘Springboard’ which is designed to give students the knowledge and understanding required to stay active and well at school or at home. Originally designed to complement the work set during Blended Learning, this tool will now be used as an online resource for home-based learners, and as a tool for the community to discuss, maintain and develop their own appreciation of wellness.

Aside from running apps and online communities, students at YIS, researched and trialed various other online-based and app-based products designed for wellness. Give these a try with your family to maintain your collective wellbeing and to begin some interesting discussions about wellness at home.

Sport based - Homecourt, On the Ball, iSoccer, Hudl Technique. 

Running - Strava, Mapmyrun, Zombies, Run!, Nike Run Club. 

Training - Map my Fitness, 8Fit, Fitivity, Aaptive.

Youtube - Athlean, Fitness Blender, Pop Sugar Fitness.