MEXICO — A physical education teacher and coach from Mexico High School has been working hard alongside the entire district’s PE department to keep students moving and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the workout videos MACS’ Shawn Parkhurst posts help do so much more, he says, noting it helps connect the students, keeps them engaged, and alleviates stress and anxiety in these uncertain times.
The videos are part of a larger effort by the MACS physical education department, which has been working together to release regular health tips, dietary information, tips for stress, and games that feature physical activity via the district’s social media channels.
Parkhurst, who is a Mexico alum from the Class of 2009, said while physical activity is always important, it’s especially so during this unprecedented event.
“Many people will feel stressed, anxious, and worrisome because of the uncertainty of things taking place around them,” said Parkhurst. “Workouts, getting outside for a walk or any form of physical activity is a way to help reduce those stressors and provides a positive outlet for that nervous energy.”
Having taught physical education for more than five years in the district, Parkhurst was quick to embrace digital learning as his first video came the same week that schools first closed in mid-March.
Parkhurst typically posts three videos to YouTube each week with various 15- to 25-minute workouts that can be performed with no equipment or common items found around the house.
The skill level can be modified by Parkhurst to suit older and younger students’ needs.
Now more than eight weeks in, Parkhurst said the response has been very positive as the videos have proven to be a good way to connect with families and students get to see a familiar face guiding them through the workouts for a sense of normalcy.
Parkhurst has taught at MACS since November 2014 as a physical education teacher and aquatics coordinator.
He teaches mainly in the high school, but sees younger students for aquatics training during the school year. Parkhurst is the head coach for the Mexico boys and girls varsity swim and diving teams, runs the Mexico Tiger Sharks Swim Club, and oversees the unified basketball team for students of all abilities.
A link to the YouTube workout playlist can be found on the Mexico website, www.mexicocsd.org, via the news app, or the videos are posted to the MACS Facebook page.