By Avery Robb, Staff Writer
// Every summer, parents enroll their kids in various activities to keep them busy and active. Over the years, these hobbies that used to be ways to keep them out of the house turn into essential parts of their lives. These summer pastimes are vital for students to stay active and healthy.
All across Contra Costa County, Acalanes students take part in various activities in order to stay active this summer. In doing so, they not only have fun, but also improve their physical and mental health.
Frosh Ella Del Rosario has taken part in club water polo, recreational swim, and lifting weights for water polo in order to stay fit this summer and improve for the upcoming seasons. She is a goal oriented athlete who already knows what she wishes to accomplish in each respective sport that she plays.
“By the end of summer I want to win Junior Olympics (JO) with my water polo team and also [win] county in all strokes for swimming. JO is the largest water polo tournament in the nation. County is a fast time set by our conference area and for each stroke if you are able to reach that set time then you receive awards and qualify for a swim meet,” Del Rosario said.
Frosh Joey Martin has spent his summer playing baseball and football for Acalanes. Martin has played football for four years and baseball for ten years. Throughout his career as an athlete, Martin has become a team-oriented player as he focuses on having fun and improving his skills this summer.
“I think just being a part of the team motivates me for both sports. In football just playing for the team, especially since no one can single handedly change the game and you really have to work together as a team,” Martin said.
Being unmotivated is a major factor holding students back from staying active this summer. However, a vital part in staying healthy is finding what to do to overcome a lack of motivation.
“Staying active is crucial because when it’s not required like it is in school with PE it’s important for people to keep their health up since it’s not being tracked. Social life and motivation are probably the biggest obstacles for teams. … Just the notion of summer being a chill and fun time can often lessen motivation resulting in athletes not being as active as they usually would during their season,” Del Rosario said.
Additionally, physical activity correlates with concentration and memory in students. These essential cognitive skills are often learned through sports as an athlete’s diligence is vital for improving in their sport.
“I think that [playing sports] gives you more of a work ethic than someone who doesn’t do sports. Being in an athletic state of mind you are constantly working towards your goal and this goes over to your school work,” sophomore Sadie Suppiger said. “Athletes are always going to have a competitive side of them, always trying to be the best… and I feel like that definitely rolls over to school work and it keeps me on schedule.”
Junior Nicole Parlett plays tennis and softball. In participating in camps recommended by the Acalanes girls’ tennis coach and practicing with the Acalanes softball team, Parlett has been very active.
“I decided to play because it’s really fun and a way to stay active and be social at the same time. It gives me something to do … and you can do things with friends while also staying active,” Parlett said.
A key component for athletes to stay active is keeping up endurance. Just starting somewhere is crucial for student athletes.
“Just start with a little bit at a time even if it’s just a ten-minute run or something. Eventually you can go up from that and it will take time but if you keep at it your endurance will go up and you will see really good results that you will be happy with,” Parlett said.
People are always inclined to do something that is enjoyable, in that it is human nature to seek out something that they love doing. Even with things that are not always fun, there is always some aspect that is entertaining.
“I think that if you’re always focused and doing something that makes you happy you always feel better after. Go for a run or go work out or go hit baseballs, just do whatever makes you happy,” Martin said.
Additionally, endorphins, the hormone that triggers positive feelings, is a result of physical activity. The range of activity differs from person to person, similar to how some people need to go out and play sports while others do not. Student athletes stress the importance of doing a simple task to stay active.
“I think it’s important for teens to get out and not sit in the house for their mental health, but I feel like you don’t necessarily have to be doing sports just as long as you’re able to go out and have fun and something to look forward to,” Suppiger said. “Everybody’s different and I feel like some people need to be active and stay active for their mental health but others don’t, it’s totally a person by person situation and I feel like it’s important to find whatever works for you.”