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I Will Just Watch One More Episode!

by Austin Partin

Over the past year, I spent too much time inside when the pandemic hit the US. On
March 12, 2020, was when Shenandoah sent us home due to the spread of Covid-19. During that
time, I spent a lot of time inside watching movies and playing video games. It was only a few
weeks later when North Carolina put in a stay-at-home order that lasted for months. At first, I
was like no baseball, no school since it was online, and I am home this isn’t going to be bad at
all. Then the virus will just pass over and we will go back to normal, but this was not something
that was just going to go away During those long months, I had spent a good amount of time
inside and watching shows on Disney Plus and Hulu. By doing this, it was easy to lose track of what
time it was or the day during the week. I had started to become depressed and found myself to be
more fatigued during the first 2-3 months. I always felt tired and started to feel alone because I
could not go anywhere to see friends or family.

After the 3 months, I could tell the virus was not going away anytime soon, so I decided
to go fishing with my dad and my brother almost every day. That was the best decision that I
ever made during that point of the pandemic. Within a couple days of just being outside, I started
to feel better and had more energy which helped me not feel as depressed. I continued to fish all
summer until we came back to school that fall semester and fishing single handily helped me get
through the pandemic.

As school started to come back up and I got back to playing baseball, I noticed something
about my habits. I was wanting to spend more time inside during my off days or when I did not
have any homework. The same habits that I formed during the lockdown carried over into my
life at college too. So, I began to go fishing up here at school, and this helped me get rid of that
habit of staying inside.

During the pandemic, I was fatigued and depressed due to of lack of vitamin D. The lack
of vitamin D is normally associated with the lack of sunlight, which is the body’s natural way of
acquiring this vitamin. Since I was spending all that time inside playing video games and
watching tv, I was not able to get vitamin D and may have experienced a mild case of Cabin
Fever. Cabin Fever is a psychological condition that is normally expressed by people that feel
like they have to stay at home and can’t engage with other people (MediLexicon). Even though
Cabin Fever and the lack of vitamin D both can cause fatigue and depression, they normally do
not cause one or the other (Mulvey).

Before the pandemic, the US population was starting to increase the percentage of
inactivity or participation in physical activity outside of the work area. Low physical activity
among individuals is one of the biggest risk factors for obesity. Over the past 20 years, the
percentage of obesity in the US has increased from 19.4% in 1997 all the way to 31% in 2019
(Eflin 21). With the already increasing inactivity of physical activity before the pandemic, these
numbers have more than likely increased over the past year due to quarantine and lockdowns.

Middle-School Physical Activity and Nutrition (M-SPAN) is an organization that is set
out to bring more physical activity, information on healthy eating, and to decrease the overall
body mass for boys and girls within the middle school and high school levels (Middle 2021).
The physical activity part of this organization brings a new curriculum that is for the students.
But also trains the teachers as well on how to teach these skills, and encourage physical activity
throughout the school. The nutritional side entitles providing and coming up with ways to supply
low-fat foods to the school to help reduce the fat content foods that are being provided from the
schools (Middle 2021).

With the pandemic forcing the US to be quarantined inside for months without any social
interaction, lack of vitamin D or cabin fever, and increasing numbers of no physical activity, it
can be hard to start exercising again. Fishing was a good way for me to put down the controller
or remote and get outside. This eventually led to me getting back into exercising and lifting once
I was getting out of the house more. It is recommended that adults get 150 minutes per week of
moderate-intensity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity, and children are recommended
60 minutes of activity to strengthen their body three times a week (Eflin 2021). Finding yourself
a hobby that would get you outside for a certain amount of time will help you feel more
energized and experiencing some sort of physical activity to help reduce fatigue and staying
indoor habits that were caused from this past year.

Resources:

Elflein, J. (2021, August 24). Physical inactivity U.S. adults by state 2019. Statista. Retrieved

November 30, 2021, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/379003/us-physical-
inactivity-in-adults-by-state/.

MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Cabin fever: Definition, symptoms, and how to Cope. Medical
News Today. Retrieved October 25, 2021, from
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/cabin-fever.

Middle school physical activity and nutrition (MSPAN). Middle School Physical Activity and
Nutrition (MSPAN) | Evidence-Based Cancer Control Programs (EBCCP). (2021,
February 22). Retrieved November 30, 2021, from
https://ebccp.cancercontrol.cancer.gov/programDetails.do?programId=285123.

Mulvey, K. (2020, June 12). What happens to your body when you spend so much time inside?

Real Simple. Retrieved October 25, 2021, from https://www.realsimple.com/health/mind-
mood/emotional-health/cabin-fever.

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