By Ava Dunwoody | Staff Writer
Campus recreation’s push to get students outside has extended this semester — even to students who are in quarantine. GO Time, or “Get Outside” Time, was created to make space for just these students to promote wellness and stress relief.
Students in quarantine are able to sign up and participate in outdoor activities like sand volleyball, disc golf, cornhole, Spikeball or hammocking. Zac Huston, Baylor’s senior coordinator for outdoor adventure, said there are also guided fitness classes offered outside and group runs around the Bear Trail.
“We are really just trying to get people outside,” Huston said. “With quarantine and CDC restrictions in place, students who have been in close contact with someone have to stay in their rooms for the most part. Both campus recreations and campus living and learning wanted to create an opportunity for students to be able to get out of their rooms safely.”
Monday through Friday, students are able to sign up for free recreation sessions that happen every day at 3:00 p.m. and a fitness class that begins at 4:00 p.m. On Saturdays, there are interval trainings and Bear Trail activities at 10:00 a.m.
San Dimas, Calif., junior Morgan Egan works at the Student Life Center and said she is excited the SLC is offering GO Time. She said she thinks it is important for students in quarantine to get outside so they don’t feel so cooped up in their rooms.
Huston said even students who live off-campus and are in quarantine can register online and participate. As long as those in quarantine are not COVID-19 positive and do not feel symptoms of sickness, they are eligible to join. He also said campus recreation staff is there to supervise and enforce COVID-19 precautions such as mask-wearing and social distancing.
“As someone who works in outdoor recreation,” Huston said, “we understand the health benefits of being outside and getting that UV exposure. It’s a really renewing feeling of the fresh breeze on your face. That change of environment can do lots of good for your mental health, and I’m under the impression that your physical health will gain as well.”
Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasizes the importance of exercise and de-stressing on their mental health page. On their website, it says exercise can reduce the risk of depression and anxiety and can lead to a better night’s sleep.
Huston said the social interactions and the exercise has been helpful for students who have attended so far. He said the program has been well received and the attendance has fluctuated up and down as the number of COVID-19 cases and isolations on campus have shifted.
To sign up, students in quarantine can call the SLC front desk at 254-710-7542 or email Campus_Rec@baylor.edu for the form or more information. A valid Baylor ID is needed to sign up.
Hurston said even if it weren’t for the pandemic, he would always encourage students to get outside and go sweat. He said it is one of the best ways to relieve stress, and he is hopeful that if students will need to quarantine next semester, campus recreation will be able to provide more opportunities like this one to help out.
“Being isolated by yourself is rough,” Egan said. “If you’re in quarantine, I know how frustrating it can be to be by yourself for 14 days, so this gives [students] the chance to be outside and be active and promote a healthy lifestyle both mentally and physically.”