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Endicott College's Marisa Mickey and Jacob Mickey

Husband and wife team Marisa Mickey, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science in the School of Sport Science & Fitness Studies, and Jacob Mickey, Athletic Trainer for Endicott Athletics & Recreation, collaborate to provide mental and physical wellness expertise during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mickeys have lent their expertise to the following media outlets:

Arizona Health & Living, National, “12 Exercises to Stay Fit During Times of Stay-at-Home Recommendations”, Essex County, Mass., “Endicott Professors Help Others Stay in Shape,” featuring student-athlete Jaylin Grabau

Real Simple, National, “Is It Better to Work Out in the Morning or Evening? Experts Weigh In.” This story was also picked up by yahoo!life and, both national outlets.

WBZ 1030 News Radio, Boston, interview with Carl Stevens

  • The Mickeys on Maintaining Mental & Physical Health
    While many are taking advantage of a little extra time and some nice spring weather to get out (or stay in) and exercise during this aberrant time in our lives, some have not—gyms are closed, those at parks are warned to stay away from others, some are overwhelmed by working at home while helping the kids with their studies.

    But, now more than ever, when everyone is feeling stressed and anxious, we should maintain a fitness program to aid with our mental and physical health.

    Mental fitness is paramount. As recommended by Scott R. Bishop of the Psychological Trauma Program at Canada’s Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, practicing mindfulness—a process that leads to a mental state of nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment experience, including one’s sensations, thoughts, bodily states, consciousness and the environment, while encouraging openness, curiosity and acceptance—is helpful.

    Mental fitness can be achieved by yoga and meditation, or other mindfulness-based activities like smartphone apps that take you through various stress-reducing activities.

    Physical activity is also key. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30-60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity three to five days per week. If you don’t have big chunks of time, fitness segments can be broken down into 10-minute segments at various times throughout the day.

    For parents with school-age children, research suggests there is an association between physical activity, cognition and academic achievement. J.W. de Greef of the Netherlands Center for Human Movement Sciences at the University of Groningen has written extensively on the positive effects of physical activity on attention and academic performance in pre-adolescent children, especially with continuous regular physical activity over several weeks.

    It has also been proven that flexibility is an important part of physical fitness and further research indicates that athletics and exercise improve people’s moods. See “Daily Flexibility Stretch Routine” below for exercises anyone can do at home.

    While this information will serve as a guide, and will help immensely for those stuck indoors during this emergency, being physical in some way many times per week—no matter how it’s done—will help alleviate the stress and keep all of us mentally and physically fit. Walking, taking a flight of stairs, working in the yard, or going for a bike ride will contribute and help us all get through the next few weeks. You might even try a dance party with your family!
  • Daily Flexibility Stretch Routine

    A suggested daily routine might include the following flexibility exercises (note that each stretch should be held for about 20-30 seconds and can be repeated 2-3 times):

    Prior to stretching, if available, utilization of a foam roller/lax ball/baseball/softball on particularly tight areas would be beneficial to maximize the benefit of stretching.

    1. Forearm stretch—Position the hand of your stretch arm so that the palm is facing down with the thumb pointing inward. Pull back on the fingers of your straight arm until a mild stretch begins in the forearm muscles. This can be done both directions to stretch flexion and extension muscle groups.

    2. Shoulder stretch—Grab one arm above your elbow with your opposite hand, and pull it across your body toward your chest until you feel a stretch in your shoulder. You can do this with your thumb point up and again with thumb pointed down to stretch two different muscle groups.

    3. Triceps stretch—Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, extend your right arm over your head, and bend your right elbow, bringing your palm as far down your back as you can. Grab your right elbow with your left hand and gently push it down until you feel a stretch. Do this bilaterally.

    4. Groin stretch—Stand with your legs wide apart. Shift your weight to one side. Allow knee on that side to bend until it is over your foot. Keep your feet on the ground facing forward.

    5. Lunge stretch—Kneel on ground. Place your hands on your forward knee. Relax your shoulders, keep your hips even, your chest open, and your gaze straight ahead. Shift weight forward until you feel a stretch in the hip flexor area of your back leg. Be sure to keep lower leg perpendicular to floor. If knee goes too far past the foot, slide foot forward until knee and foot are over each other.

    6. Pec stretch/Doorway stretch—Stand inside a door frame. Place both arms on edge of door frame keeping upper arms level with shoulders. Step through door frame until desired stretch is felt in both pectoral muscle groups.

    7. Sumo squat/butterflies—Stand with your feet positioned slightly wider than shoulders and toes pointed out. With your palms in front of your chest, slowly squat down flaring your knees out as you go. Lean forward and press your elbows against the inside of your thighs until desired stretch is felt. This also can be performed in the seated position with knees bent and bottom of feet touching together. Grab your ankles and place elbows on each knee. Slowly lean forward, applying pressure to knees until the desired stretch is felt in your groin.

    8. Figure 4 stretch—Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Cross one ankle over your opposite knee and keep your foot flexed. Bring your opposite knee toward your chest. Reach your hand through your legs and interlace your fingers just below the crease of your knee. Using your arms, pull your opposite knee toward your chest, pausing when you feel a stretch in your glute and hip.

    9. Lower back stretch—Start lying on the floor. Bend your knees and keep feet flat against the floor. Extend arms out into a T position. Engage your core and bring knees to one side of your body. If you do not feel stretch, pull your knees down to the floor with your arm from the same side. It is important to keep your shoulders flat on the ground.

    10. Seal stretch—Start on all fours with your arms shoulder width apart. Stretch your arms out so that your upper body creates a downward slope. Lift your upper body and lower your pelvis to the ground.

    11. Quad stretch—Stand on your left leg, one knee touching the other. You can hold a chair or the wall to keep you steady if needed. Grab your right foot, using your right hand, and pull it towards your buttocks. Be sure to push your chest up and hips forward. If having difficulty feeling the stretch, fire your quad on the leg being stretched when you have your foot near your buttocks.

    12. Calf stretch—Stand facing a wall. Prop one foot up against the wall with the ball of your foot contacting the wall and heel touching the floor. Place your opposite leg behind a few inches. Use your back leg to push your body closer to the wall and feel the stretch throughout the muscle belly of your calf. Do this stretch with your knee straight and slightly bent to feel the stretch in two different muscle groups.
  • Additional Fitness Resources
    View a variety of exercise and stretching videos on the Endicott College Athletic Training Website. These are very basic exercises that anyone can do on their own.

    The Endicott Strength & Conditioning and Wellness hub offers workouts, nutritional tips, and motivational thoughts to the College’s student-athletes. This also serves as a great resource for amateur and professional athletes alike.