Exercise and play are important to well-being

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I spend each school year sitting down. My legs lie still under my desk or scrunched under my body as my mouth moves for a few moments before my right hand becomes the last moving part of my body.
On some afternoons, I hop into a pool and feel my knotted muscles loosen for a short hour and half. On some weekends, I race — a brief rush of adrenaline in the shining, rippling, tan bodies beside mine as the starting alarm bleeps and we fling ourselves in tight dives into the gleaming cold Sunday-morning water.
I’d go crazy if I didn’t swim.
Then it’s back to being dressed in a gray skirt and polo shirt and stuffed into a desk with the occasional reminder from jumper-clad Convent Elementary School students blessed with recess. I hear rubber balls bouncing. I hear their giggles. I imagine them sprinting out the classrooms — third grade, fourth grade, one after the other. In their jump rope games, in their four-square rounds, they are saying, “Don’t forget.”
Don’t forget to play.
Every summer I remember — stretching my legs and arms in a dig for the volleyball, awkwardly, knees wobbling like those of a newborn calf. I’m out of practice. But I relearn how to kick a ball straight or curved. I relearn how to throw a ball hard and slow.
I relearn how to scream “Goal!” until I’m hoarse after sending a high pass to fifth grader Julia Bischoff as she knocks the ball in with the top of her head.
I relearn how to keep my balance when she throws herself into my arms and our team mates high-five and thank our opponents for a close game before collapsing on the grass and staring up at a cloudless warm, blue Los Altos summer sky, feeling 20 panting players smiling up at the sky beside me.
After months of sleepless night and headaches and neck cramps, I sleep like a baby and wake up each morning to the sound of my own beating heart that, in a matter of hours, will quicken when my kindergarten campers decide to run around in circles before chasing me down, crawling on my back before I collapse and they smother me the ultimate dog pile.
I spend my summers in the holy silence of an empty gym slowly filling up with hyper campers between the hours of 8 to 10 a.m. I spend my summers easing a football into a 12-year-old girl’s hand, keeping my own on her shoulder and throwing-arm at just the right angle before she sends it flying — now confident she can play with the boys.
I spend my summers being almost strangled by scared second graders — their arms so tight around my neck I can scarcely breathe, and every summer they listen to my voice calmly telling them to kick and not to forget to breathe before they push off my stomach and swim off like tadpoles.
“Don’t forget,” they are saying. Don’t forget us — how you used to be. Don’t forget to play.
The greatest weekends of my life were spent at swim meets chattering with other swimmers, snacking on cheddar Goldfish and yellow Gatorade between events. I take any chance I get to play long games of Ultimate Frisbee or Super Prisoner Dodge-ball with a big group of friends before grabbing a well-deserved meal after. The thrill of getting knocked down, running for a ball or jumping as high as I can to catch a long pass never gets old.
Forgetting how to run and trip and fall then getting back up and laugh it off would be like forgetting how to walk or talk. I can’t function without feeling my muscles burn as my lungs empty and fill. When I feel tense, or can’t sleep at night, I know it’s because the human body was built to move. The human body wasn’t designed to be crammed into a desk or chair day and night. Tomorrow, I’ll go out and run around or swim or play basketball with the neighbors’ kids. The human body wasn’t made to be out of shape.
I won’t forget to play.

Jovel Queirolo
Managing Editor

I spend each school year sitting down. My legs lie still under my desk or scrunched under my body as my mouth moves for a few moments before my right hand becomes the last moving part of my body.

On some afternoons, I hop into a pool and feel my knotted muscles loosen for a short hour and half. On some weekends, I race — a brief rush of adrenaline in the shining, rippling, tan bodies beside mine as the starting alarm bleeps and we fling ourselves in tight dives into the gleaming cold Sunday-morning water.

I’d go crazy if I didn’t swim.

Then it’s back to being dressed in a gray skirt and polo shirt and stuffed into a desk with the occasional reminder from jumper-clad Convent Elementary School students blessed with recess. I hear rubber balls bouncing. I hear their giggles. I imagine them sprinting out the classrooms — third grade, fourth grade, one after the other. In their jump rope games, in their four-square rounds, they are saying, “Don’t forget.”

Don’t forget to play.

Every summer I remember — stretching my legs and arms in a dig for the volleyball, awkwardly, knees wobbling like those of a newborn calf. I’m out of practice. But I relearn how to kick a ball straight or curved. I relearn how to throw a ball hard and slow.

I relearn how to scream “Goal!” until I’m hoarse after sending a high pass to fifth grader Julia Bischoff as she knocks the ball in with the top of her head.

I relearn how to keep my balance when she throws herself into my arms and our team mates high-five and thank our opponents for a close game before collapsing on the grass and staring up at a cloudless warm, blue Los Altos summer sky, feeling 20 panting players smiling up at the sky beside me.

After months of sleepless night and headaches and neck cramps, I sleep like a baby and wake up each morning to the sound of my own beating heart that, in a matter of hours, will quicken when my kindergarten campers decide to run around in circles before chasing me down, crawling on my back before I collapse and they smother me the ultimate dog pile.

I spend my summers in the holy silence of an empty gym slowly filling up with hyper campers between the hours of 8 to 10 a.m. I spend my summers easing a football into a 12-year-old girl’s hand, keeping my own on her shoulder and throwing-arm at just the right angle before she sends it flying — now confident she can play with the boys.

I spend my summers being almost strangled by scared second graders — their arms so tight around my neck I can scarcely breathe, and every summer they listen to my voice calmly telling them to kick and not to forget to breathe before they push off my stomach and swim off like tadpoles.

“Don’t forget,” they are saying. Don’t forget us — how you used to be. Don’t forget to play.

The greatest weekends of my life were spent at swim meets chattering with other swimmers, snacking on cheddar Goldfish and yellow Gatorade between events. I take any chance I get to play long games of Ultimate Frisbee or Super Prisoner Dodge-ball with a big group of friends before grabbing a well-deserved meal after. The thrill of getting knocked down, running for a ball or jumping as high as I can to catch a long pass never gets old.

Forgetting how to run and trip and fall then getting back up and laugh it off would be like forgetting how to walk or talk. I can’t function without feeling my muscles burn as my lungs empty and fill. When I feel tense, or can’t sleep at night, I know it’s because the human body was built to move. The human body wasn’t designed to be crammed into a desk or chair day and night. Tomorrow, I’ll go out and run around or swim or play basketball with the neighbors’ kids. The human body wasn’t made to be out of shape.

I won’t forget to play.

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