Teachers exercise to stay fit, relieve stress

October 20, 2017 — by Daniel Bessonov and Jeffrey Xu

Ask almost any high school student to describe a teacher’s life outside the classroom and most will picture someone sitting behind a desk grading papers. This, however, is not the case for many teachers at the school, who often have much more to show for their after-school agendas than stacks of graded tests and assignments.

In fact, the school has at least a dozen teachers who participate in highly active fitness activities, ranging from lunch-time basketball to marathon running to skiing and surfing to intense CrossFit training.

Biology teacher Kristofer Orre is one such example. As the athletic trainer for the football team and the girls’ basketball team, Orre said he also finds time for his own CrossFit program.

“Although I am relatively busy during the day, I workout during my sixth-period prep,” Orre said. “I follow the ‘CrossFit’ program and do the daily workout that is featured on their website.”

According to Orre, the daily workout is basically a combination of weightlifting, gymnastics and classic cardio exercises that range from 7 to 45 minutes.  This includes lifts like deadlifts and conditioning work such as rowing or running.

Orre said this exercise allows him “to cope with stress and more generally have a better outlook on life.”

Kirk Abe is part of a group of teachers who play basketball at lunch on Fridays. The group of regulars includes special education teachers Brian Elliott and Danny Wallace, history teacher Mike Davey, journalism teacher Mike Tyler, P.E. and history teacher Rick Ellis, English teachers Erick Rector and Jason Friend and principal Paul Robinson.

According to Abe, he also works out two to three times a week in the weight room with Ellis because “Mr. Ellis is such a great motivator.” Abe said that he and Ellis mainly do CrossFit workouts designed by Ellis that he described as “tough.”

“I exercise because it makes me feel good and more energized,” Abe said. “When I skip a day, I tend to feel like a slug.”

Both teachers said that exercise is what helps them balance out their already stressful work schedules with their outside-of-school lives, allowing them to create less stress and less demand throughout their days days to ultimately take the edge off of what often seems like a never-ending cycle of lecturing and grading.

Exercising gives me balance in my life,” Orre said.  “It's the one time during my day when I can focus on myself and try to get better. It, in a sense, allows me to forget about my other commitments and activities for just enough time to relax and get ready for the upcoming day.”