Freshman year, the only exercise I did on campus was walking from Redding Hall to McDowell three times a week. According to the Health app on my iPhone, I actually logged on average 5 miles a day walking. For me, that was more than enough to avoid the dreaded “freshman fifteen.” I was perfectly content doing nothing extra to keep my body healthy and continued with my normal exercise and eating habits for the entire year.
When I returned to campus for sophomore year, the combination of high level major courses and additional extracurricular activities doubled my stress load. In the past, I would relieve my stress and anxiety by re-watching an episode of One Tree Hill I have seen dozens of times or blasting some Taylor Swift and having an impromptu dance party. However, as any college upperclassman can attest, as your credit load becomes more extensive, Taylor Swift does not cure all the research papers and exams taking up every date in your planner. Right at the point I was desperate for a new outlet to calm all the deadlines swirling in my brain, my roommate suggested I go to the gym with her. At first, I responded automatically with a “no;” she had convinced me to go to yoga with her once before and I spent the entire time staring at the clock begging the time to move faster. She seemed more hopeful this time that I would enjoy Little Bob much more than the cramped yoga room in Perkins.
One visit turned into another and soon, we were meeting outside the gym three times a week. Even though I do not believe I need to exercise for my physical appearance, after that first night in UD’s brand new gym, I realized that there are benefits of developing an exercise routine that go beyond trying to shed weight. Even if I can only spend an hour at the gym, the mental clarity it provides shifts my whole mindset for the rest of the day. Since my workouts are nowhere near as extensive as those of an athlete, the fatigue after hitting the gym is not nearly as crippling. Instead, that one break where I get to think about nothing but running on a treadmill and listening to (you guessed it) Taylor Swift calms my entire being. The change I see in my energy levels after getting on a daily workout regimen and drinking water with every meal is immeasurable.
I encourage every UD student to visit Little Bob for a workout at least once this semester. Trust me, I never considered myself a person that would willingly spend time in a gym multiple times a week, but there is something about the atmosphere that makes the once daunting task so much easier and rewarding. Getting daily exercise not only makes you physically healthier, but it also produces benefits to the mind that I have yet to match with any other activity.