For students, college is all about making their own decisions, whether it’s attending that early-morning lecture or eating Easy-Mac for the third day in a row. One decision that should be a no-brainer: keeping fit.
Among the benefits: regular exercise can help manage your weight, improve your mood, and relieve stress, depression, and anxiety. Keeping fit also helps to build strong bones, which is important in protecting women against osteoporosis, and it boosts energy — which can cut down on that expensive five-latte-a-day habit.
If students have never exercised regularly, college is the right time to start. Glenn Harris, the Athletics Department’s head strength and conditioning coach, recommends that students build exercise into their daily routine, just as they would a class or a club meeting. That way, they are more likely to stick with their fitness plan. “Choose something you enjoy doing, instead of making exercise a chore,” he says.
Other tips from Harris:
- Exercise with a roommate or friend for added motivation.
- Schedule workouts around favorite TV shows and watch while on the treadmill or elliptical machine.
- Get some classwork done while working out. Bring flashcards or class handouts to review while on the StairMaster.
- Join an intramural sports teams. Students will not only get some exercise, they’ll meet a whole new group of friends.
A good first stop is the Fitness and Recreation Center, which offers cardio machines, weights, squash courts, a climbing wall, a track, a pool, and more. Students can sign up for noncredit recreation classes, which include a wide range of options, from swimming to Pilates.
For a fee, a FitRec personal trainer can help students create a plan.
Harris cautions that students should avoid exercising too strenuously when starting a new routine, because that can lead to injuries. He says that overall body fitness is more important than six-pack abs. “Students should aim for good overall muscular strength and stamina,” he says, “instead of focusing too much on one body area.”
Amy Laskowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.