College Life: How I Avoided the Freshman 15

ZumbaAfter living in Ann Arbor during my freshman year of college, I realized that students living on college campuses seem to fall into unhealthy routines. These usually consist of:

  • waking up early
  • sleeping in – if they’re lucky
  • spending the majority of their time in class, and
  • studying till all hours of the night

Down time often includes sitting around a dorm room or apartment, munching on whatever bag of chips happens to be lying around while channel surfing or playing video games.

Ever heard of the ‘Freshman 15’? Well, this is where it comes from.

The Norm

While living the life of a college kid during the fall and winter months, I didn’t see any problem with this type of behavior – it seems to be, after all, the manner in which almost every college student behaves. However, looking back on my first year at school, I am beginning to understand that the behaviors that have become the norm for young people living on college campuses today are extremely unhealthy.

What Activities Can I Do?

Instead of succumbing to sloth-like behaviors, such as sitting around every time you have nothing to do, get out and be active. Sometimes you might take the bus to class – why not walk instead? In buildings with multiple stories, take the stairs instead of the elevator. If there are scenic places located on campus, bike riding could be a great way to get exercise. Zumba, a Latin-inspired dance workout, is also a wonderful and increasingly popular way for young people to get in shape and have fun while doing it. In addition, most college campuses have recreation buildings that offer a variety of exercise classes. These buildings often feature swimming pools, basketball courts, tracks, weight rooms and several other areas where students can exercise.

What If I Don’t Have Enough Money to Form a Regimen?

You don’t need money to exercise! Walking, running or biking around campus does not cost any money at all, and they are all activities that anyone can take part in. The classes that are offered at campus gyms or recreational buildings are little to no cost for enrolled students, making them a viable option for staying healthy. Also check to see where Zumba classes might be located on your campus.

The Importance of Choosing Exercise

Many college kids wonder what significance exercise could possibly have in their lives. Being a university student can be stressful – when combined, lack of sleep and work overload can cause feelings of gloom and helplessness. Exercising can improve these depressed moods thanks to chemicals known as endorphins. These chemicals are released from the brain during exercise and help to alleviate pain as well as stress. Endorphins are known to elevate mood and induce a sort of “natural high.” Exercising thus can be very helpful to college students in that it minimizes stress, increases happiness and promotes good health.

What’s your favorite way to get exercise on a college campus?

Photo credit: Edson Hong

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