Midterms have come swiftly upon us – and with all of the busyness that they bring, it is easy to forget about taking care of yourself – and especially ~exercising~. Fitting in a run, class, or time at the gym can seem unnecessary or even more stress-inducing during an especially busy time. However, working out can be an incredible tool for managing stress, improving mood, boosting your immune system, having more energy, sleeping better, and literally feeling strong and ready to take on the world!
Check out even more wonderful ways it can impact your life: 13 Unexpected Benefits of Exercise. What an amazing tool it can be!
It’s easy to feel scattered or have a one-track mindset during midterms (tests, tests, tests, essays, projects, etc.), but taking care of yourself during this time will benefit both you as a person and a student. Learning, growing, and working are all easier to do when you are taken care of. 🙂 Exercise can be an important part of caring for yourself, however not everyone’s self-care will look the same or necessarily involve working out. If you do want it to be part of your routine and are looking for more tips on how and where, read on!
Important tips to remember:
Exercise, like most self-care techniques, works for you when you do it regularly and correctly, giving yourself rest and refuel when needed. Do not forget to recognize your limits!
- Try going at least 2-3 times per week for at least 20-30 minutes each time to establish a rhythm and get the most out of that time.
- STRETCH! It’s most advantageous to stretch after a workout and for at least 30 seconds in each position and equally in muscles throughout your body (i.e. 30 seconds on your left calf, then 30 seconds on your right). Feel free to spend more time on tight spots!
- Rather than stopping your routine (if you have one) altogether, try going for shorter or periods of time or do lighter workouts.
- If working out seems like the worst thing ever that day, it’s okay to skip once in a while! While keeping a good schedule is important, your other needs are just as (if not more) important, too.
- If you are just starting, here’s a useful site for getting moving! Fitness 101: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Exercise
What you put into your body is what you get out of it. That is to say – you won’t benefit as much as you could from working out if you don’t accompany your exercise with nourishing meals.
- This page has some great tips for what to eat to feel the best and get the most out of your workout – Eating and exercise: 5 tips to maximize your workouts.
- ***If you are having trouble finding food or putting together meals that feel good to you and your body, try making an appointment with our resident nutritionist through Primary Health Care. Appointments are free, unlimited, and always tailored to your needs. Call 212-854-2091 or walk into Primary Health Care during walk-in hours to make an appointment.***
Do something you enjoy! Working out is so much easier when you are engaging in an activity you like or are doing it with a friend. Here are some great ****free**** possibilities:
- Go on a run, hike, or walk in Riverside or Morningside Park! Getting outside to exercise can be so refreshing and relaxing. If you are feeling ambitious and ready to roam, Central Park is not far (especially for 110 and CG residents)! The trails in all three of these nearby public parks are fantastic for running, jogging, walking, skipping, etc. on – just be ready for a steady climb and lots of stairs if Morningside is where you decide to go.
- Meet up and Jog with Jacey, Well Woman’s weekly jogging group. They meet at 4pm on Thursdays in the Well Woman office (119 Reid) and go for 30-40 minute jogs in the nearby neighborhood (and Riverside!)
- Take a free yoga class in Lerner Hall or Wein through Columbia’s Art of Living student group. They send out weekly emails about the yoga classes and group meditation they offer and are usually at fairly convenient times! (late mornings on weekends and afternoons/evenings during the week). Like them on Facebook at Art of Living Club Columbia University for updates and how to get on the listserve.
- Go to Sports and Rec Hours from 6:30-9:30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays at St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s (619 West 114th Street) to play dodgeball, volleyball, soccer, or basketball with friends and fellow students! Like Barnard Phys Ed on Facebook for updates about which sports are being played that night.
- Swim in Dodge Pool during open swim hours (12-2pm and 7-9:30pm during the week and 12-5pm and 7-9pm during the weekend), located on the bottom floor of the building. Though it is often crowded, don’t be afraid to claim a spot in a lane, and try to swim for at least 20 minutes to get a good cardio workout. Apparently, there is even a sauna upstairs in the main locker room!!!
- Register for a dance class for next semester in the Barnard Dance Department. Many people take entry level dance classes (often but *not* all offered 9-10am MW or TTH) to fulfill the PE requirement and their dreams of busting a move on stage. Dance can be a great way to get moving (and not on a treadmill).
- But maybe the treadmill is for you! Barnard’s Fitness Center and Dodge Gym both have fantastic resources and machines for the variety of your many weight-lifting, cardio workout, muscling toning dreams. Take a peek at Barnard Fitness Center Hours and Dodge Gym Fall 2016 Hours to see if they have times that work for you.
All in all: see what works for you and remember to do it for yourself and because it feels good! Treating your workout like a punishment or chore won’t make it easier or keep you as engaged as you need to be when pushing yourself during exercise. Try changing it up if your current routine isn’t working for your schedule or your body and have fun! For more tips, advice, and guides, come to Well Woman during office hours (Mon-Fri 1-4pm & Sun, Tues, Wed, Thurs, 7-9pm). ❤
Best of luck and lots of love,