Students and experts cite benefits of regular workouts
By Rachael Veronda
Special to NFP
A student's life is often filled with late-night cram sessions and early-morning classes, but many Niagara University students make sure they fit workouts in during their busy class schedules.
"I like going to the gym, because it is two hours of being stress-free, and not having to worry or think about anything else during this time," said Kayla O'Brien, a Niagara sophomore. "I also like the way I feel after completing a workout."
Of course, it's not always easy to find the time or motivation to get to the gym, but it isn't impossible. "To help me stay focused on finding the motivation, I think about how working out makes me feel, and seeing the results is also a huge motivator to keep me going back," O'Brien said. "In general, it makes me happy going to the gym."
While it takes time, there are many benefits associated with going to the gym, noted Brett Adams, fitness and operations coordinator at Niagara's Kiernan Center.
"Going to the gym reduces stress, anxiety and increases your ability to focus better, since your brain activity is increased," Adams said.
Many people think there isn't enough time in the day to exercise, but it really comes down to making it a priority to get to the gym, even if it's only being there for 30 minutes, Adams said.
"That is what I'm here for; I am always willing to write up different exercise plans and I even offer personal training sessions for students for a decent, affordable price," Adams said.
For those who may not know exactly what to do at the gym, there are plenty of ways to find out more about different workouts to follow.
"Over the years, I have gained more knowledge by doing my research and looking up different workouts on websites like bodybuilding.com and from my brother, since he's a personal trainer," said Sophie Smith, also a sophomore at Niagara.
"It may not be easy at first, but when routines are developed, and the time and effort is put in to getting to the gym, it all pays off and results will follow," Smith said.
It isn't always easy for many college students to find time to go to the gym.
"One of the most challenging reasons for not going to the gym is finding the motivation. I also find that I am so focused on my school work that it doesn't cross my mind to even go workout," said Ivy Leon, a Niagara junior.
Some students just find it is too challenging to find the time for workouts.
"I think what would help me with getting to the gym is if I had more free time during the day and not being so stressed about my school work," said Yaritza Reyes, a Niagara junior.
Another way to get active at school is by putting yourself out there and even joining a club sport, maybe even one you have never played before.
"Back when I was playing rugby, I definitely felt that it was easier for me to be physically active compared to now when I haven't been playing," Leon said.
"It helps when you have scheduled practices throughout the week, because it makes it easier to plan around those times. You know that at practice you will be getting some sort of exercise for at least an hour and a half," Leon noted.
There have been many studies and research demonstrating the health benefits of physical activity, such as reduced risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
"Recent investigations have revealed even greater reductions in the risk of death from any cause of cardiovascular disease," noted the article "Health Benefits of Physical Activity" in the Canadian Medical Journal (CMAJ).
The article also noted other types of exercises, including resistance training, which appears to have beneficial effects on bone mineral density.
"Athletes who engage in high-impact sports tend to have increased bone mineral density compared with athletes who engage in low-impact sports," the Canadian Medical Journal stated.
Encouragement is a major key factor when it comes to motivating people to do anything, even when it comes to working out. This can be done in different ways.
"We offer about 35 different after-school sports," said Dave Michelsen, the athletics and physical education director at School of the Arts in Rochester.
"It doesn't matter what sport students choose, as long as they are doing something," Michelsen noted.
Michelsen said the ability to thrive in school has always been associated with either being part of a team, or being physically active in general.
"Students who participate in sports are known to have a better GPA while also having a higher chance of graduating high school and going to college," Michelsen noted.
Besides the simple fact of being healthy, it is also important to live a balanced lifestyle each day while always trying to make each day productive.
"I normally find the time after work and classes, which ends at 5, or 5:30 p.m.," said Julia Holocomb, another sophomore at Niagara.
Of course, taking time out of each day to relax for a little while is OK occasionally, but, for the most part, staying active while doing something throughout the day always makes for a more productive day.
"When I don't work out, I find myself napping hours that I don't need to be napping," Holcomb said. "I also watch Netflix at the gym. I'd rather be watching Netflix while being healthy instead of sitting or being in my bed. I hate not being busy throughout my day."
Doing basic research on different tips and tricks for workout ideas is very easy and accessible, especially with the internet and social media apps. If there are specific exercises that someone may be interested in learning more about, they can always visit websites such as www.bodybuilding.com or www.fitnessmagazine.com.
There are all different websites that provide even more information about basic exercise tips. Not only is it healthy to be physically active, but it has been proven to boost your mood and give you a lot more energy.
See ya at the gym!