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Billie Jean King encourages young athletes to ‘keep playing’ during coronavirus shutdown

In these times of despair, exercise and physical activity are more important than ever.

The Women in Sports Foundation 40th Annual Salute To Women In Sports Awards Gala - Inside
Billie Jean King is encouraging quarantined athletes to keep playing their sport amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Women In Sports Foundation

With gyms and sports leagues properly heeding the advice of medical experts and shutting down to help combat the coronavirus outbreak, it is harder than ever to maintain regular physical activity. But in these times of despair, it is important to stay active. Exercise is proven to reduce stress and depression. The coronavirus has temporarily upended our daily lives, but we cannot let it destroy us.

That’s the message out tennis legend Billie Jean-King is promoting on social media, tweeting out the “#KeepPlaying” hashtag in an effort to encourage young athletes to still practice their sport of choice. “Sports seasons are suspended or cancelled everywhere due to #COVID19, but that doesn’t mean practice at home must come to an end,” she wrote.

Over the last couple of days, the “#KeepPlaying” hashtag is starting to appear more regularly on Twitter, with sports leagues around the world attempting to motivate their athletes to keep sharpening their skills. In addition to serving as a valuable mental break from watching panic-stricken newscasts, practicing sports is a reminder that life will continue once we survive this crisis, whenever that may be.

With the coronavirus forcing the NCAA to cancel all of its seasons, various out LGBTQ athletes have seen their collegiate careers end prematurely. But they have handled the situation with aplomb, posting heartfelt messages on social media and sharing love. We need to support each other during these times.

Even something as simple as gay former NFL veteran Esero Tuaolo sharing his chest home workout routine can go a long way towards spreading needed cheer and motivation. Being socially distant should not be akin to a death sentence, not matter how much it might seem like everything is ending right now.

Get active this weekend, whether it’s going for a jog, practicing yoga at home or even just taking a simple stroll. We must be vigilant during these times, but just as importantly, we need to practice self-care. Keep playing.