Is exercise weighing you down?

Before the beginning of college, one of the stereotypical comments you hear is to beware of the “freshman fifteen.” And with the cafeteria being filled with yummy, grease-filled, home-style food, it isn’t hard to understand why.


By Brandi Furman

Before the beginning of college, one of the stereotypical comments you hear is to beware of the “freshman fifteen.” And with the cafeteria being filled with yummy, grease-filled, home-style food, it isn’t hard to understand why.

So when your schedule is full with class work, a job to help pay the bills, and studying for final exams, there isn’t much time left to work off the not-so-healthy food you just can’t resist. The proximity of the recreation center is not the problem, but rather it is the motivation to get there.

Some student just can’t resist the urge to take that extra energy and time to the gym. This productive solution is popular, some go in the morning, and others after classes are through, sometimes making it hard to find a machine that isn’t in use. The fitness classes that are offered during the week are a trendy way to work off those extra pounds without the boredom of treadmills and stair climbers.

Jess Kendust, a sophomore, tries to find the time for fitness, but has only been to the “Rec” about six times this semester. “Whenever I’m stressed out or trying to lose weight,” she said, “It’s not hard to get here, I live on upper campus, it’s finding time that’s hard.”

The adjustment to college had little effect her decision to exercise, Kendust stated, “I never really felt pressure in high school to stay in shape, so it isn’t any different here.” The idealistic body type of celebrities and athletes causes many to obsessively change their lifestyles to fit into societal norms.

According to research done by the University of Wisconsin in 2002, the top five factors of college stress are: peer pressure, competition, separation from family, freedom, and choosing a major/career. Many find that exercise can be a way to escape from these stressors, and release the pressure on the mind. However, this can become a problem if not used correctly, sometimes over exercising and worrying about weight turns into an eating disorder, or other psychological problems.

Agreeing with the many who work out their worries, freshman Kensie Dawes said, “I find that a good work out releases a lot of my aggression out for the week. It’s better than just getting drunk.” Dawes also stated that fitness was just one aspect of a healthier lifestyle, to which she has been trying to keep up with lately.

For those who don’t have time to learn how to make a workout, or what they are doing isn’t doing its job, the Rec offers personal trainers to help you get on your way. The chance for getting a trainer this late in the year is small, as there are very few available, so signing up early is important.

Sophomore Nacy Swartz tries to work out once or twice a week. “I try to stay in shape,” Swartz says, “If I had more time and personal trainers were more available, it’d be great. I know some of the trainers here and they’re always busy.”

The trainers offer to be there for workouts or to set up a schedule for you to keep on your own. The beginning is the hardest, knowing where to start just may be the help you need.

If you harbor a secret hatred of stepping onto a treadmill, with only the future of running to nowhere for the next half hour in sight, fitness classes may be an option that should be considered. Everything from “Beginner Yoga” to fast paced “Body Blaster” is taught by fellow students. These classes are free and offered each night beginning at 4 p.m.

Even though these classes are cool to check out, finding time is still an obstacle. “I took some classes last year,” says Amanda Bohlyn, a sophomore, “but I haven’t had the time yet this year.”

Some classes are only offered at certain times, and are only around for a semester or two. It is recommended to take the classes that you are interested in, because the classes that don’t draw a crowd are the first to go.

College students are infamous for being lazy, and with the busy schedules that most have, the stereotype is not accurate in any way. Stress can come in many ways, but for the average college student, finding the balance of personal time and schoolwork is the biggest weight on the mind.

Working up the effort, finding the time, and having the energy to exercise are big problems when it comes to keeping up with physical health. Whether it is a stress relief or just keeping in shape, the benefits out weigh the downfalls of working up a sweat. With the end of the year coming closer, it may just be time for a New Year’s resolution to get back into the routine of daily exercise, as well as back into the old jeans hiding in the back of your closet.