Students Hit the Gym to Improve Health

Photo courtesy of MakeitKenya, Flickr

Many college students, even well past the first semester of school, fear the dreaded freshman 15. However, weight gain does not have to be a reality. Exercising is an easy way to help both physical and mental health stay in good shape.

“Eating right and exercising regularly will keep you in top form. Do exercises that you enjoy. Exercise at least 3 times a week,” suggests Ramapo’s Health Services in their self-care guide.

In addition to a fitness center with weight machines, free weights and cardio machines, Ramapo offers an array of classes and clubs that encourage students to be more active. At the Bradley Center, there are a variety of classes including CrossFit, kickboxing, spinning and Zumba. Intramural teams and clubs such as flag football, the rock climbing team and the yoga club also offer the opportunity to be active in many different ways.

“The Yoga Club at Ramapo College aims to provide its members with a new approach to achieving mental and physical peace,” reads their Facebook page.

Many students also choose to take advantage of the beautiful Ramapo Reservation just down the street from campus. It offers a short loop around the lake and a longer walk to the reservoir, as well as miles of hiking trails featuring lookout points facing New York City.

“I like going to the reservation because exercise is relaxing in general, but going off campus allows you to really separate yourself from academics to just de-stress,” said sophomore Sam Halpert-Rodis, who also occasionally takes to the reservation in order to study as well.

Research done by Purdue University found that students who take advantage of campus fitness centers, teams, classes or other forms of exercise are more likely to do better in class, as it can relieve stress, boost mood and increase memory and focus. Their data shows that students who use the gym at least seven times a month have a higher average GPA than those who did not.

However, for many, it can be hard to find a balance between homework and exercising.

“Between classes and extracurriculars I find it really hard to get down to the Bradley Center,” said Mickey Eberhardt, sophomore.  “It requires time that I don’t have.”

This is a reality for most college students.

According to a study by North Carolina State University, “nearly 50 percent of students participate in recreation less than once a week, 16.7 percent never participate and only 1.4 percent do these activities at least five times a week.”

Despite that, those that do go find that it benefits them in many ways.

“Exercise is good when you’re stressed about work. It helps you clear your mind,” said sophomore Samantha Mundy, whose exercise of choice is running on the treadmill at the Sharp Fitness Center.

Whether it is a hike at the Ramapo Reservation, a high-intensity kickboxing class or just a short walk around campus, the next time you need a stress reliever, consider one of the many fitness opportunities offered at Ramapo.