It is 6:55 a.m. when Amy Wilson’s alarm clock begins to sound off. With a sigh, she wrestles her comforter before placing her bare feet onto the cold dorm room floor. Her first class is at 8:00 a.m., but instead of relaxing with a cup of coffee, the junior occupational therapy major puts on her sneakers and heads to the gym.
Like other students at Quinnipiac University, Wilson makes it a priority to incorporate physical activity into her daily schedule.
“If I go to the gym on my busiest day, I have to go at 7 a.m., before classes,” she says.
Wilson, who has two jobs and is currently taking 18 credits, tries to exercise four to five times a week.
WebMD.com, an Internet health information service, recommends that adults sustain at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
However, the same site adds that seven out of ten Americans do not come close to that level of activity.
In college, where students are devoted to late night study sessions, pizza deliveries, classes, papers and exams, how is it possible to find time to exercise?
Sophomore english major, Steven Goldblatt, insists that creating a schedule is the best way to succeed.
“I try to plan out most of my day,” he says. “I wake up at 7:00 a.m., go for a run, and eat breakfast before class at 9:00.”
Creating a routine and sticking to it is the easiest way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. While waking up an extra hour earlier may seem like a chore, the morning is the perfect time to work out.
WebMD.com maintains that the endorphins released during physical activity improve your mood, self-esteem and energy. Not a morning person?
Try hitting the gym during breaks or when classes are done for the day.
“If I don’t go in the morning, I usually don’t go at all,” Wilson said.
If scheduling isn’t a problem but a lack of motivation is, there are other forms of exercise that exclude the elliptical and the treadmill.
Additionally, the University offers fitness classes seven days a week, both for fun and for credit. Choices range from yoga to cardio kickboxing.
Add a class to your schedule and treat it like a real course that can’t be missed. Attend classes or the gym with a friend or roommate to stay motivated.
Goldblatt enjoys tennis with a friend, especially if he’s missed his morning run.
“Daily exercise in general makes me feel good,” he says.
Staying in shape can be just as difficult as taking a course, especially in college. But some of the more unconventional exercise options may appeal to those who are just beginning. Web sites, like Amazon.com, offer fitness DVDs that cater to the busy student.
Also, taking the stairs, going dancing, vacuuming and walking the long way to class provide some other quick and easy ways to get additional daily activity.
While the traditional idea of the gym isn’t for everyone, there is no excuse for inactivity.
Studies on WebMD.com show that physical activity can help prevent cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, obesity, osteoporosis, back pain and stress.
And who would be opposed to better fitting pants and tops?
“Exercise is something I’ve grown up with, and it makes me feel less stressed and better about myself overall,” Wilson said. “I prefer feeling energized, fit, toned and in shape.”