ST. ALBANS — High school athletes are in a holding pattern as they wait to see what the spring season will hold. Most college athletes have returned home; their spring seasons cut short by college closures.

"I feel for the kids that had a season taken away from them. I'm a UVM alumnus, and I watched the Catamounts--thinking about those seniors, that's so tough," said Nate Yandow of Duke's Fitness Center.

Yandow trains people of all ages, including high school and college athletes. He shared tips on how to stay in shape while social distancing.

"Fresh air is always a great idea," said Yandow. "I often tell people that we train inside to see what we are capable of outside.

"A lot of high school athletes are probably eager to start training since they are on a delay."

Duke's is still open, and members are coming in for workouts, but Yandow noted that not everyone is comfortable going out right now.

"If you have a yard with a hill, that's an amazing place to work. You don't need a ton of space to keep moving," said Yandow.

"Agility training, speed work, plyometrics, and working on acceleration and deacceleration, can all be done in a ten-yard area.

"There are also a lot of bodyweight exercises like pushups, planks, and squats that have hundreds of variations and can provide a great workout."

Outdoor activities in areas like the Rail Trail provide people with the opportunity to move for as long and as quickly as they want.

"I've recommended that people take to the Rail Trail. We may even do a class out there," said Yandow. "You can keep a good distance and use your discretion as far as contact goes."

Duke's, along with other fitness organizations, provides online options for those who would like to workout at home.

"We want to make sure people are taken care of. We have a Youtube channel with workouts and health tips, and we're adding to that even more intensely now," said Yandow.

"We want to keep that community feeling where our members can have Kate or Lisa teach a class.

"Members who are choosing to stay home can log into their member portal on the Duke's website and do workouts, take classes, and get health tips to keep the immune system strong."

Most people exercise to stay physically fit, but Yandow pointed out the other side of the equation.

"With warmer temps coming, try opening a window and doing a livingroom workout with the breeze coming through. Movement and good food will help reduce stress."

Nutrition is another factor to keep in mind, especially in stressful times.

"Focus on eating real food and drinking water. This doesn't have to be overwhelming. It's about thinking about what is the easiest thing for your overall health."

Working from home--either as a student or an adult, can cause people to be more stagnant.

"If you're cooped up in the house, don't just sit there for six hours--give yourself a mental break and keep moving. You're used to being on the move at school if you're a student."

Yandow suggested keeping a journal to track activity and nutrition.

"Journaling can help us track our progress; it gives you information to use as a tool to help you as you work."

Yandow encouraged people to be vigilant about their screen time; with a less structured schedule, minutes can easily turn into hours.

"Social media can be hard on the mind, and it can work against us. It is a social thing, but it's not good for our minds to be in that blue light constantly," said Yandow. "Play, draw, and get out in between the work that needs to get done."

Some athletes may be missing the guidance offered by their coaches; Yandow encouraged them to take this time to push themselves.

He encouraged coaches to connect with kids online and through text.

"It's a great time to build a team page and help keep athletes accountable. Can they take a photo before or after a personal workout?" suggested Yandow. "Social media can be a powerful tool to cheer each other on and keep each other accountable."

He encouraged parents and kids to interact at home.

"As a kid - challenge your parents to do a work out with you. Just don't pick on them if they can't keep up," said Yandow chuckling. "And remember a proper warm-up is important. We don't want any parents pulling a hammy because they didn't warm up!"

Parents can make suggestions and create opportunities to interact with home-bound kids.

"This is an opportunity for people to spend more time with their families and reconnect.

"One thing that comes to mind is our slogan: 'health matters.' There's more to health than exercise and nutrition--rest, attitude--connect with what matters to you."

Yandow's suggestions are perfect for difficult times, but they will add value after life has returned to normal.

"Mindfulness is so important--exercise gratitude and think about your accomplishments. That positive mindset is so crucial to our progress and our happiness."

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