Let’s get physical! How to maintain a fitness routine on campus

By William Yanes
Elm Staff Writer

College can be a wonderful time of growth as you meet new people and are exposed to new ideas. With the exploration and change that comes with college, an issue that can arise is unwanted weight gain.

This phenomenon exists to such a degree that it even has its own name: the “freshman fifteen.”

There are a number of reasons why this may occur, ranging from increasingly busy schedules to not having enough knowledge of the campus to build a stable routine. Despite these potential impediments to physical fitness, there are ways in which you can build and maintain a routine.

There are many benefits to exercise.  According to Mayo Clinic, “the health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex, or physical ability.”

For those who want to know a good time to exercise, according to Mayo Clinic, “at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity” are good weekly goals to strive for.

People should try a variety of exercise options before settling on one. Oftentimes, people do not find their fitness “match” until much later on.

Thankfully, Washington College provides many opportunities to get active. One of which is the Johnson Fitness Center, which is located right down the street from the Aquatic center.

The JFC offers a variety of ways to get active. This includes fitness classes, intramural sports, and club sports, among others.

According to the fitness page, some of the classes they have previously offered include Xtreme Hip Hop, Buti, and Yoga Nidra.  These classes and schedules are all online. The best part is these classes and services are free to students.

“Whether you want to achieve a nice long stretch in a yoga class or raise that heart rate in a turbo kick class, we have something for everyone. Everything is first-come, first serve based on equipment and space availability with classes offered in the morning, noon and in the evening,” the WC Sports fitness page says.

These classes are a great way to add fitness into your day, because not only does someone else plan the routines, it provides a wonderful chance to meet new people.

Since these classes are free, people can take any combination of them until they find the ones that fit them and their schedules.

Assistant Athletic and Aquatics Director Kim Lessard has a number of tips for students looking to improve or add water-based fitness to their routine.

“If students are comfortable in the water, but have questions about building a routine, [I] would be happy to meet with students one-on-one,” Lessard said.

 For students who wish to improve their swimming abilities “the aquatics center has received funding from Student Affairs for swim lessons, Lessard said”

Once a person has found something that they love, it is important to stick with it and not get discouraged. Maintaining a routine is not just sticking with it, but also reaching out to people to get help continue it.

Acknowledging that this is a bumpy road is an important step, which is why flexibility is key.

While it is helpful to pick a time and stick to it, sometimes life happens. A friend can need help or a paper is due the next day. 

When lack of motivation strikes, it is important to not get discouraged. If you normally go in the morning; go in the afternoon instead, but staking one’s entire routine at one time can be ineffective.

Besides good friends, the most rewarding investment of time for someone is finding a good exercise routine.

According to the US National Library of Medicine, “exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.” It provides half an hour of built-in tranquility during the day and the more time that someone gives, the more peace comes from it.

Photo courtesy of Elm Photo Archives

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