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January 30, 2013

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Living at Clark: Staying Healthy in University: Exercise

Introduction: I never really worked out all that much as a teenager. I wasn’t healthy – at all. I was overweight, verging on obese for many of my teen years (though apparently never quite looked it). I went on lots of yo-yo diets with my family; ranging from RAW veganism to where I am now as a lacto-ovo vegetarian. My family was mostly a junk-food vegetarian family, we didn’t eat meals together and I remember having a lot of microwave meals when younger. During High School I mostly lived on easy food like spaghetti and sandwiches.

Obviously I don’t come from an extremely healthy background. But the reason I feel that this is important is that when you enter University you are living on your own. You are making your own decisions about what you eat and what you do, so it’s important that you make the conscious choice to be healthy. This isn’t your mom your dad telling you to go workout, to eat healthy, or even to clean your room.

I feel like the biggest reason people gain the freshman 15, 20, or 30 is because they no longer have someone policing their habits. You can live on candy, if you really want to. The cafeteria is an all-you-can-eat buffet style eatery and it can be hard to watch portion control with all of that food staring you in the face – you don’t even have to clean up your own dishes!

Plus, no one will know if you go to the gym and workout. No one but yourself. So why not just sit in your dormroom and play some Xbox?

Exercise:

I will again repeat, I do not come from a healthy background. I started working out regularly in my senior year of high school with my best friend Emily and I caught the bug. I was lucky enough to catch the bug before getting to University, so finding time to workout became a pretty big priority in my life. And thank God! Because along with monitoring my eating habits and working out at least 5 times a week, I actually lost the freshman 15 and more.

Still, if you don’t like working out at a gym, there are plenty of places and things for you to do to stay in shape!

  • Workout in your dorm room:
    - This is your space, you can workout here if you want. There are a lot of great exercises (and youtube videos) that are meant for small spaces like dorm rooms. Just ask your roommate and make sure not to stink up the place. Ew.
  • Walking:
    - This is a SMALL campus. When they tell you that nothing will be further than 5 minutes from your dorm, they really mean it. You will literally walk everywhere. The best part about this is that it’s forced exercise, if you want to get anywhere you’re going to have to move to get there. Even on weeks where I just didn’t have the time to workout, I found that I would maintain a constant weight just from all the walking.
  • Stairs:
    - For those of you who don’t attend Clark University yet… THE JONAS CLARK STAIRS Oh. My. God… they are killer. There are a LOT of stairs on campus. Even if there are accessible elevators, I almost always take the stairs. Why not? It’s a free workout. And I promise you, it is a real accomplishment to get to the second or third floor of Jonas Clark after running up the stairs and not be extremely out of breath. I actually gauge how healthy I am on this exact thing.
  • Go for a run:
    - There are lots of great parks around Clark. I have bad ankles and don’t exactly love running, so I tend to stick to the gym and walking around, but I know people who run around Elm or University (Crystal) Park. Just find a running buddy and stay safe!
  • Join a sport:
    - “Forced” exercise? Perfect!
  • Go to the gym:
    - Okay, this is a little obvious… but I mean, you get a gym membership with the cost of attending Clark. Why wouldn’t you use it! Just don’t go when I’m going, I like it to be quiet and near empty.

So there you are, just a couple ways to get exercise in University and stay fit!

1 Comment
  1. Jessa Green
    Jan 31 2013

    Comment from my best friend Emily (mentioned above) posted to Facebook on her experience staying healthy in college and in ROTC at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Thought it was worth sharing with you.

    “Being in ROTC (forced exercise haha!), I automatically work out three times a week plus some, and I never really realize that the majority of college students have to (or decide to) stay in shape on their own terms.

    It is so important that we spread the knowledge and habit of health and exercise to others. I even come from a healthy background, and I still think staying in shape is downright challenging.”

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