Athletes Stay in Shape During Time Off School

At home virtual program leads student workouts

Sophomore Taryn Preston and her seventh grade brother, Grayson Preston, work out together with the web-based platform provided by the school

Sophomores Kylie Brown and Taryn Preston are quick to say they miss the high school spring sports season due to the COVID-19 pandemic — Kylie runs sprints and relays with the Kent City track team and Taryn plays softball and participates in track — but neither girl is missing practice.

High on school administrators’ list of concerns during the school shutdown, said Athletic Director Jason Vogel, “is the health and safety of our student athletes.”

While keeping athletes and all students physically active is still a concern, according to Vogel, many, if not most, Kent City middle and high school athletes and other students are working out.  

He credits the school’s use of a web-based, home workout program known as PLT4M for continued consistency in their training.

“Like many companies they have pushed out an at-home workout for student-athletes to follow that does not require any equipment, such as a weight room,” said Vogel. 

“I think it is important for everyone who is living in isolation to remain physically active. This will not only help them with their physical health, but with their mental health as well.”  

While the current situation has prompted many companies to offer similar at-home exercise programs, Vogel touts the district’s choice of PLT4M. It’s the third year the Kent City Sports Boosters has funded the program, which is used for all district athletic programs and physical education classes.

“I probably get 10 or more emails a day for online programs, but we already had this in place and felt that it was the best one for our students,” he said. “It is one of the many luxuries that our Sports Boosters provide for us every year.” 

This is the third year that the Kent City Sports Boosters has funded the program, which is used for all district athletic programs and physical education classes.

Sophomore Taryn Preston enjoys running with the scheduled sports training programs despite the cancellation of the spring high school track season

Results

“This has been vitally important for student athletes who are used to several hours of physical activity each and every day,” said Vogel.

 “We are hoping we can salvage some of the spring sports season and feel like PLT4M will help our students prepare during this unique down time,” Vogel said earlier on during the shutdown. But as school closures continued, regular exercise may have become even more important.

The program outlines “things kids can do without special equipment and I know of students from physical education classes eighth through twelfth grade that are doing it with their families,” said Vogel. “I’ve been doing it with mine and we see a big difference.”

While out of school, without a spring sports season in site, school athletes are using the platform everyday. 

Each day one student sends Vogel a picture of him/herself working out and then nominates another for the honored spot on the school webpage. “I believe that it not only helps them stay in shape but it helps with mental health issues too,” said Vogel, who cites the backup of nominations as proof the students are enjoying the “game.”.

 Kylie said she used the platform on a daily basis for 20 to 40 minutes depending on the workout she chooses.   

“I encourage my brother and little sister to join in so they stay healthy as well,” she said. “It is easy to follow and fun to do.”

Taryn also works out every day, sometimes with her eighth grade brother who is also involved in Kent City athletics. 

“ I will be more prepared for the upcoming seasons,” said Taryn, who couldn’t say whether she preferred softball or track. “I love them both.”

Sophomore Kylie Brown is spending time making sure she stays in shape for upcoming sport competitions
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Janice Holst
Janice Holst has been both a teacher and a journalist. A former MLive reporter, she wrote features and covered local government and schools for Advance Newspapers for nearly two decades. She also was a recipe columnist and wrote features for Mature Life Style and occasional entertainment pieces for On The Town magazines. She lives in Sparta Township and is thrilled to spend some of her retirement hours writing the stories of the northern Kent County school districts. Read Janice's full bio or email Janice.

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