From sitting for hours in classes to nightly Netflix binges, many college students struggle to stay physically active throughout their college years. Many students, especially those who are not student-athletes, no longer have after-school sports, gym classes and the other activities from high school that allowed them to be active.
Not an unknown concept, lack of physical activity can cause health issues, especially later in life. Therefore, it is important that students develop a habit of exercising early on.
According to Mayo Clinic, adults should “get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.”
College students have a variety of reasons for not including exercise in their daily routines, such as time commitment, sickness or injury, lack of motivation and more.
Susannah Taylor, a fitness and wellness instructor at Salisbury University, said finding time to work out is a student’s hardest problem.
“The biggest challenge I hear from students is time management between their academics and other obligations on campus with clubs or organizations. [Also] social temptations, [such as] spending times with friends -- those are the top reasons students aren’t always quite as active,” Taylor said.
In order to overcome these challenges, however, students can use a variety of methods.
If time is an issue, students can squeeze in short workouts throughout the day, such as doing a few pushups or jumping jacks during a study break.
If lack of motivation or social life is an issue that is interfering with a student’s ability to be active, students can attend the gym with a friend to allow both of them to spend time together and motivate one another.
“I always recommend scheduling exercise into your week ahead of time. You are much more likely to adhere to that schedule. So, building in thirty minutes a day, five days a week that is dedicated to exercising and adhering to that as if it were a class schedule [is helpful],” Taylor stated as a method of motivating oneself to exercise.
In order to be active, there are a variety of different activities that students can try, especially around SU’s campus. There are two gyms on campus that are free for all students with a valid Gull Card: Maggs Gym that is on Main Campus and University Fitness Club that is on East Campus.
Both gyms include cardio and weight training equipment that students can use in order to create their own workouts. Maggs Gym also has a pool for anyone who enjoys swimming as a workout.
SU freshman Justine Graham has found Maggs to be the easier gym to go to and likes the variety of equipment it offers.
“I like doing a lot of combinations of stuff. I like doing some cardio and then some weights and then stretching,” Graham said. “Even in between each [I vary the workout], like cardio [for example], I do running and biking because I don’t like to do one thing because I get bored easily.”
UFC offers a variety of classes that students can take in addition to the strength room and cardio room offered. UFC offers yoga, Zumba, spinning, body pump and more. Such classes make a great opportunity for friends to go to both spend time together and do something healthy for their bodies. UFC also has racquetball rooms and half basketball courts you and your friends can rent out if traditional workouts aren’t your style.
Students also have the opportunity to stay active by participating in either intramural or club sports, which have less commitment than the varsity level sports colleges offer.
Intramural sports are the least committal, but are still competitive. Intramural sports offered at Salisbury include futsal, soccer, dodgeball, floor hockey, basketball, golf, softball and more. Club sports are a bit more time-consuming.
Unlike intramural sports, club teams usually have a regular practice schedule, along with games against other schools. Freshman Stephanie Hof participates in both intramural soccer and futsal here at SU.
“It keeps me on a routine even if I’m not in the mood to work out that day,” Hof said. “You have that obligation to your team, so you go, and it keeps you active even when you have stressful things going on and that are hard to take yourself away from.”
Whether it is lifting weights, running outside, spinning during a class, practicing yoga, or simply taking a walk, there are a variety of ways that college students can stay active throughout the semester.
Exercise is known to improve both mental and physical health, so next time you have some free time, grab a buddy and head to the gym for a good workout.
By LAURA AMRHEIN
Featured photo: Salisbury University image.