Quarantine results in decreased activity levels for Americans

Madeline Schallmoser, Sports Editor

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay at home order went into effect March 21. Steps to combat the spread of COVID-19 taken around the country are keeping Americans in their homes, leading to a drastic increase in video game play coupled with a decrease in physical activity. 

Gaming is a popular outlet for people of many ages and skill sets. On April 9, Verizon reported that gaming activity was up 115% in comparison to an average pre-COVID-19 day. The same report demonstrates that cell-phone usage is beginning to normalize but gaming appears to remain high. 

A sharp decrease in physical activity is observable since the March 13 federal emergency declaration. A COVID-19 Pulse Study conducted by Evidation Health reported that, as of April 6, physical activity decreased 48% nationwide. The study was based on information from over 68,000 fitness trackers. 

As the lives of teenagers have been interrupted, many have lost opportunities for movement in their daily routines. DGS junior Lily Vincent had active habits, working out and playing sports regularly prior to COVID-19. 

“I have gained a new perspective on being physically active because before [COVID-19] it came easily,” Vincent said. “It was in my routine and I just did what I needed to do in practice but now, I have to actually plan out my own workouts and hold myself accountable since there is no set schedule or game I need to prep for.”

With cancellations of spring sports and uncertainty moving forward, athletes are getting creative to stay in shape and stay motivated. 

“When I get into that rut where I’ve been watching TV for 6 hours straight, it’s really hard to convince myself that I should not keep watching for a seventh hour,” University of Chicago junior Jake Fauske said. “When I’m around people, especially my little brother, it’s a lot easier to be more excited by doing something together.”

Fauske is a catcher on the University of Chicago’s baseball team. Working with his 13-year-old brother helps him stay engaged with baseball and prepare for next season. 

Sean Osborn, coach and owner of the DuPage County Hounds Baseball Club, keeps himself active with yard work. He encourages his athletes to get outside. 

“Just go ride your bike,” Osborne said. “Anything to get outside, even if it’s just in your backyard, you’re gonna find something to do. Kick a ball around even if you don’t play soccer.” 

DGN PE Department Chair Courtney White encouraged the same of his students during E-Learning. 

“Even if you aren’t the type to regularly exercise, I hope you were able to see the importance of getting up and moving, regardless of the level of intensity,” White said. “Movement is critical to everything we do. As long as you find ways to be active you’ll find that making it through this stay at home order will be easy, boring but easy.”

An emphasis on physical activity is necessary in this time according to Dr. Rob Rifenburg, Associate Residency Director of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program at AMITA Resurrection Medical Center.

“As the pandemic and stay at home order increases in duration, we are all at risk of developing depression and a sedentary lifestyle,” Rifenburg said. “It is during times like these that we must make an extra effort to increase our physical activity and go for a jog, bike ride, or brisk walk.”

The risks of a sedentary lifestyle and excessive screen time include obesity, heart disease, type two diabetes, and some types of cancer, as well as interrupted sleep habits. 

Rifenburg recommends following the American College of Cardiology’s activity guidelines. These guidelines recommend 30 minutes of activity that elevates the heart rate 5 days a week.