Staying healthy while working from home

Looking for a way to stay fit and healthy while stuck at home?

With the current response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our alumni and friends find themselves working remotely. This is resulting in major changes to our daily routine, including what we eat and how we get our daily exercise.

Recently, the staff at the Office of Alumni Relations sat down with Kayla Dodd, assistant director of marketing and membership at the Marshall Rec Center to learn what tips and advice she has to remain active, eat better, and even take advantage of virtual workouts from your home in order to stay healthy – now and in the future.

First, tell us how you and your team at the Rec are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic?

The transition from working in the office to working from home has been an on-going process, but our team has been handling it very well and professionally. We make task lists and have virtual meetings. We are in constant contact via several communication outlets and are always looking forward and making our next plan. Staying organized and continuously motivating one another has kept us all on our toes and held us accountable

For those stuck during at home during this pandemic, what specific recommendations would you make to ensure our readers are best positioned to maintain the highest possible levels of wellness?

Working from home is a new challenge for a lot of us, but it is extremely important to find a balance between work and home activities. You have to make a schedule with guidelines and parameters and stick to them. It is so simple to feel like you need to be tied to your computer and be in constant email communication with everyone, so it is important to find that balance of being able to step away to make a healthy lunch, go for a walk, or just take a mental health break and relax for a few.

It is also important to mark the end of your workday with something significant to transition back to your home life, such as reading a book, going for a walk or meal prepping for dinner. Finding that balance between your work and home activities is important so that you can separate the two, since now work and home are the same place. 

Do you have any easy exercises for folks to do around the house?

A lot of people think that you have to consecutively workout for 30 minutes, an hour or even more to be effective, when simple things such as going for a walk around the neighborhood or doing a couple rounds of circuit training can be done.

The Marshall Rec Center has partnered with several other Rec Centers around the country to produce an interactive fitness scheduled with a variety of classes from cardio classes to yoga. We recommend checking out the schedule on our website or social media channels and jumping in when you can for easy motivation. Some workouts are live while others are pre-recorded, that way you can join in when it is best for you. If you cannot make it to a live workout, they are all recorded and the links to the class are available after.

You can also do your workouts around the house with objects you already have. Utilize a staircase and do some lunges and stair steps or use cans in place of a dumbbell. Other household tasks like mowing the lawn and landscaping are also great forms of getting active, especially with the weather starting to warm up.

It is important to be creative during this time and also make the time to be active. It is easy for individuals to find excuses for lack of time to make it to the gym, but working from home is the perfect time to start finding your fit, whether it be a 15 minute workout or an hour long, virtual class you follow along with. 

What about tips for eating well and what not to do while working from home?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important each and every day. The biggest suggestion that I have it to stick to your regular eating schedule. I know it is super simple to walk into the kitchen and grab snacks, but if this is not what your normally do, then do not do it!

It is important to be mindful of not only what you are eating but also be mindful when you put things into your shopping cart, to alleviate any temptations at home. Now is a great time to try out some of the recipes that you have been pinning on Pinterest the last couple years. On our website, we have a page dedicated to healthy recipes and snacks and you can check that out for ideas and inspiration for your next meal.

For those who feel as though they need a little something extra beyond what you have already recommended, what additional tips and resources are available? Are there certain websites or other media outlets that could be of assistance?

Our website is full of various virtual activities right now from virtual fitness classes to e-sports to an outdoor recreation guide of the Tri-State area. We are also currently posting on our social media outlets a few times a day with various information on our programs.

During this time, virtual is the way to go and we have partnered with our friends and partners across the country to create this virtual fitness schedule where you can tune in anytime to work out with us. The interactive schedule is compatible on your mobile or desktop options. We are also doing daily Rec Challenges on social media that you can tag us on Facebook and Instagram at @murecreation.

Currently, what plans does the Rec have for when it will reopen in the future? 

We are all very excited as we anticipate the re-opening of our facility. We already pride ourselves on the cleanliness of our facility, but with the recent COVID-19 and social distancing measures that need to be taken, we have plans in place to go the extra step and ensure the safety of our patrons and staff.

Currently, we have a limited number of staff continuing with day-to-day facility operations and general maintenance and also completing projects such as: wiping down all pieces of equipment from top to bottom, scrubbing the floors, painting, replacing tiles, deep cleaning all areas of the facility and more in preparation of opening back up soon.

Before we shut down, we had already implemented a few new safety measures and we will continue with these upon the re-opening. We propped all doors and gates open inside to eliminate unnecessary touching of doors and gates, increased the amount of times equipment and certain areas of the facility were cleaned and wiped down, placed additional signage with precautionary measures around the facility, provided staff with additional cleaning products in all areas to wipe down work spaces, closed the rock wall, closed down the equipment check out for items such as basketballs and more and placed the member card swipe out on the counter for the member to swipe instead of the employee to eliminate extra handling of cards.

Upon re-opening, we will follow all social distancing guidelines to space out equipment, and continue with the increased cleaning schedules. All staff will receive additional training on keeping themselves and their workspace clean and safe.

With the success of the online programming such as the virtual fitness classes, we plan to keep this option available and build on it in the coming months to continue to reach all of our members and the Marshall community.

Talk a little about the growth of the Rec. It has become an iconic part of campus in a short amount of time.

In February, we celebrated our 11th anniversary of being open to the Marshall community. Over the years, we have expanded the growth of our membership options, programming and special events.

The Rec Center is not just a place for students but is a place for all. From swim school and Healthy Herd Youth Camp for the kids all the way to Silver Sneakers fitness classes for 65+, there is something for everyone.

Our swim school program has grown tremendously with several days and times of the week now being offered and classes always filling up. Camp continues to grow year after year, with more campers, which also allows us to hire more student staff.

Special events such as RecFest, continues to get larger each year. In year one of RecFest there were 38 vendor tables and in 2019, we had 152 vendor tables and over 2,100 participants throughout the event. Other events like Rec the Halls continue to grow as well, with members taking “wishes” from our tree and buying gifts for children during the holiday season. Making an impact in the community, whether it be for business exposure or to help those in need, is something we love to do as a campus rec team.

We have also been able to expand our Graduate Assistantship and Internship programs over the last few years. We currently have five graduate assistants and offer summer internships. The Rec also manages the university’s PEL (Physical Education Lifetime) for credit classes. We offer a variety of 1 credit hour courses for students each semester.

Once things begin to return to normal, for folks looking to get back into a routine, what programs and opportunities are available – specifically to alumni – at the Rec and what would you recommend?

We will be extremely excited whenever we are able to re-open our doors to our members and the Marshall community. With a variety of program options, there is something for everyone, as I mentioned above!

Amenities of the facility include two fitness floors, fitness studios, indoor track, rock wall, locker rooms, indoor pool and spa, four basketball courts, three racquetball courts, an outdoor turf field and a game room. Benefits of being a member include: free group fitness classes, free daily use lockers, discounts on all programming (swim school, kids’ night out, camps, personal training, fitness assessments, outdoor trips, rentals, birthday parties, team building, safety certifications and more). 

The biggest thing to note is that we are not just open to Marshall Students but to Marshall community members such as Marshall alumni! Memberships can be purchased month by month or year in full for $45/month for an alumni main membership with options to also add on household/family members. Paying for the year in full also saves you 20 percent off the membership.

Joining the Rec Center is not only a great way to find your fit, but a great way to support Marshall University and give back to your alma matter. We are looking forward to re-opening and offering the same quality of programs that we always offer. We are a team of professionals and are always ready to go. Go Herd!