By Lauren DeRiggi, ’24:
Since the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, Kellenberg Memorial has implemented outdoor walks for the students and faculty to get fresh air, exercise, and socialize with their classmates.
Most students go on class walks during their lunch or study hall periods, but many teachers bring the students on them after they have finished their lessons. Most students walk around the recently-renovated track, football field, or the Madonna Pavillion courtyard.
Going on walks and being in nature serves many benefits. The American Heart Association stated that adults can increase their life expectancy by two hours for every hour of cardiovascular exercise, such as walking. In addition to having physical benefits, walks can greatly improve a person’s mental health. Going on walks during the day can increase productivity, boost mood, and improve concentration in a working environment.
Nature also expands creativity, decreases the risk of depression, and can extend life expectancy.
Lisa Nisbet, a psychology professor at Trent University in Canada, stated “When people are immersed in natural places, even in urban nature, people tend to have more positive emotions and vitality than when they are indoors.”
In contrast, sitting down for long durations of time has many negative consequences, such as a lack of blood flow to the legs. It also increases the probability of developing anxiety, depression, and diabetes compared to people who exercise and immerse themselves in nature.
Another benefit of spending more time outdoors is how it reduces the spread of COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, health officials from all over the world have encouraged people to socialize in outdoor environments. When you are outside, fresh air is always moving, which disperses COVID’s infectious droplets. Socializing outdoors, remaining physically distant, and wearing a mask enables students to talk to their fellow cohort members while staying healthy and safe.
Perhaps the greatest benefit is the break from routine that many students are struggling with in the Covid Protocol era.
Senior Marc Scocca said, “I love going for walks. It’s a break from the monotony of a Covid school day.”
I school like Kellenberg that provides an education of the heart and mind must always be conscious of the various, “outside-the-box” methods available in its educational toolbox. Taking a break from the classroom to go for walks is proving to be a “less is more” approach to learning at KMHS.
In addition to daily walks during the school day, Kellenberg Memorial has taken many steps to become more outdoor-oriented. For example, Kellenberg implemented numerous outdoor masses for students during the first trimester. Freshman cohorts also experienced outdoor FAITH days throughout the month of November. These activities enabled students to socialize with each other and exercise their faith, all while staying safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19.