It’s quite an easy thing to become lazy in your first semester of college. Nobody is yelling in your ear for you to get up (unless your roommate just cares that much), you can skip class more easily (depending on your professor’s attendance policy), and at any given time, you’re probably no more than 300 feet from an Xbox.
A lot of things change when you move on campus, but it’s up to you to be diligent and to resist the temptation of couch potato-hood. Not only will your grades benefit from this, but your body will too.
I, like many people in their first few weeks of college, joked about my coming Freshman 15
but dismissed the idea as nothing more than that, a joke. However, with my near excessive usage of the unlimited meal plan at my disposal, I started to worry that the Freshman 15 may become a reality for me. Sure enough, when I stepped on the scale to check my hypothesis, the numbers rose from their usual neighborhood of the upper 170’s to a new and unusual side of town, the lower 190’s.
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I laughed at two things.
First, I had gained almost exactly 15 pounds. Second, when I looked in the mirror, I appeared slimmer than I had through the entire summer before. I had been home to visit and even made a point of checking in my old mirror to see if my new one was playing tricks on me, but it told the same story. This means that I had shed fat and gained a majority of my weight in lean muscle.
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I then realized that I was eating so much to recover calories. I had signed up for boxing, tai chi, hapkido, Brazilian jiu jitsu, and mixed martial arts at the beginning of the year. Normally, I wouldn’t have the time, money, or transportation to take on such a full schedule in addition to my academic classes, but each program was offered at my school’s student recreation center. Thanks to my student fees, the classes were affordable (some are even free), and because of the convenient location, each one was only a short walk away.
That walk that I perceived as short, however, was about as long as most people on campus were willing to walk for anything other than class. Most would just take the shuttle, but while taking all of those classes at the rec center, I had a new found energy. I found myself wanting to walk to class instead of taking the shuttle. I also took the stairs more and often got to my destination faster than I would if I had taken the elevator. After jogging up eleven flights of stairs to get to my school’s writing studio without breaking a sweat, I realized that the rec center was really starting to have an impact.
I’m not saying that enrolling in a few fitness programs will give you amazing athletic prowess. It might, but for most, it’ll take a rigorous personal training regimen. Still, for the average person, dedicating a few hours a week to a class or two will cause a noticeable difference in strength, stamina, and maybe even happiness. Physical exertion is great for stress relief and can serve as a great break from studying.
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More than that, for those of you having trouble building new relationships, playing an intramural sport or practicing a martial art is a great way to find friends. Being involved in the same thing gives a conversation topic right from the start; all it takes is a little courage. Who knows? Some of those bonds might outlast the program itself.