Online learning has several benefits for students. Its self-paced model allows young learners to personalize their educational experience; its flexibility enables them to pursue extracurricular passions; its robust support system of teachers and tutors ensures that no student falls behind, and – maybe best of all – online school is a convenient, accessible way to attain an education.  

But there’s one notable course often missing from online high schools: physical education. The logistical hurdles of running a measurable PE course over the internet, even at stellar online academies like Ontario eSecondary School, are too numerous and glaring. Therefore, educators encourage online students to stay active in different ways.

In the summer, staying active is relatively straightforward – the outdoors is your playground. But in this post, we explore how you can maintain healthy physical routines during the year’s coldest months.

Establishing Easy-to-Follow Routines

At brick-and-mortar schools, you don’t really have to think about when you’ll exercise; your schedule does the thinking for you. A physical education course is pre-slotted into your agenda.

On the contrary, online students need to take the initiative – they need to create their own health routines within their flexible online study schedule. The best advice is to establish daily or weekly routines by writing them down in an online task app or notes file with alarm reminders. This way, you always know when to stand up from your studies, brush off the “thinking work,” and break a sweat.

Making the Most of Your Indoor Spaces

Brick-and-mortar students often have access to indoor gymnasiums throughout the winter, making fitness a year-round possibility.

Online students need to be a smidge more creative. Some online learners have great success staying active at gyms, local recreational facilities or sports clubs. However, if you prefer to stay home during the day (who wants to venture out in the freezing cold?), consider establishing an active space in your home. It can be as simple as a cleared area on which to unroll a yoga mat. Or as intensive as a home gym, complete with machines and weights. If you only have the expenditure for one machine, consider the rowing machine (or ergometer), which offers a well-rounded workout featuring cardio and several muscle groups.

Tracking Your Activity

Online students are no strangers to measuring outcomes. They track their progress in a course; they track their grades on transcripts; they might even track their daily study time.

Why not track your physical activity as well? Once you’ve established a fitness space and a consistent routine, track your progress via online apps. Please note: we aren’t talking about tracking superficial metrics like weight or BMI – those are not indicators of health. Instead, consider tracking your time spent on activities, steps taken, calories burned, etc. Some of these tracking apps may also include workout instructions, guidance, sample fitness regimens and classes.

Staying active is about more than just breaking a sweat. Studies show that an active lifestyle can help your brain operate at peak cognitive function, setting you up for success in your academic courses. This winter, online students should take the initiative to stay active by following the simple steps above.

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