By: Pete Ramirez
One of the most significant ways the pandemic has affected Austin Community College is by the cancellation of in-person intramural sports. Losing these extracurricular events placed a hold on what is normally a fun way for students to stay active and socialize with their classmates.
No one has felt this loss greater than Tracy Partin, intramurals coordinator and health & kinesiology professor at ACC.
“It’s been kind of tough, the last year, not being able to see my students or get out on the court with them,” Partin said.
Knowing that COVID-19 restrictions would push people towards the couch, Partin found a way to continue to inspire ACC students to work on their fitness. Last March, Partin began sending an email with workouts and health tips to his subscribers every Tuesday and Thursday during the semester.
Partin’s email fitness program hasn’t missed a semester since it began a year ago.
“Tracy’s emails have been great,” said Brienz Edwards, a student at ACC studying peace and conflict within the interdisciplinary studies program. “I used to think that a gym was a pretty necessary part of working out and it has been quite the revelation for me that that’s not what I really need.”
Edwards mentioned underestimating a workout Tracy sent earlier this semester that only called for using a kitchen chair for the movements.
“I was like, ‘oh I can do a chair workout, that’s no problem’ and I was immediately sweating,” Edwards said. “It sounds ridiculous that you can sit in a chair for ten minutes and sweat but I promise you.”
Partin’s fitness emails not only include workouts for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels but they also touch on mental health and wellness advice.
“I send them suggested YouTube workout videos,” Partin said. “And on Thursdays I touch upon mental health a little bit. Stress relief. Things that you can do mentally to help your mindset.”
For Jeshika Lamsal, a prospective ACC student and subscriber to Tracy’s fitness emails, staying active means being conscious about what you are doing.
“My favorite way to stay active is first meditation and second is working out,” Lamsal said. “I think everyone should try to meditate.”
Lamsal encouraged ACC students to adopt a meditation practice a few times a week at first and then slowly increase the frequency as time progresses.
Lamsal also compared starting a meditation practice to going to kindergarten and learning the alphabet. When you first begin, you may not know anything about the subject but as you continue to practice, you learn and grow to have a better grasp of the practice.
Regardless of the route Partin’s students take to stay active, his ultimate goal is to get his subscribers to reconnect with their bodies and improve their mental and physical health.
“It gets those endorphins going and it does make you feel better so anything you can do – whether it’s taking a walk, whether it’s doing some exercises at the house – it helps”, Partin said.
Edwards said her favorite way to stay active is by taking walks at her own pace through her neighborhood.
“It’s a really good way for me to get back into my body and be able to think clearly”, said Edwards. “It helps me organize my thoughts for whatever I need to do next and reconnect with myself but also with the world outside.”
With his fitness emails, Partin wants ACC students to realize that there are simple yet effective things they can do to be active while staying within and nearby your home.
“Most importantly, try to keep a consistent time when you are going to workout”, Partin said. “There’s going to be those days where you are tired and want to blow it off, but you’ve got to push through.”
Partin said he will begin to send out his summer semester fitness emails on June 8 and students will be able to sign up via Student Life.
“I would just like for the students to know they can contact me at any time,” Partin said. “I want them to know that there is somebody out there, that we do care about them.”