Make time for fitness during stressful fall finals season

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COURTESY PHOTO / WM.EDU

While the College of William and Mary has a reputation for its academics and political activism, athletics and physical activity are not necessarily defining factors of student life. Unfortunately, because of immense academic pressure and an array of social obligations on campus, it is far too easy to lose sight of personal wellness. Most students, including myself, spend any free time holed up in Earl Gregg Swem Library rather than exploring Colonial Williamsburg, relaxing or breaking a sweat in the Student Recreation Center.

Generally, people are discouraged from going to the gym due to a lack of results or boredom with the limited machines available. It is also often hard to rationalize time spent away from textbooks during such a vital period in the semester.
Studying is very important, yes, but taking time to take care of your body, that thing which helps you focus, study and produce your best work, is something that should be taken seriously. Exercise strengthens your body, your mind and improves your outlook. Why not take advantage of the incredible benefits that exercise grants?

A great place to start taking care of your whole self is located right on campus. As of this year, all group fitness classes at the Rec and the McLeod Tyler Wellness Center are free of additional charge to any full-time student at the College. With classes ranging from high-energy cycling and body pump to rejuvenating yoga, often taught by fellow students, there is something for everyone at every level of fitness. Given the looming stress of final exams, these classes are an incredible (and now, free) resource for students at the College.

Last month, during midterms, I impulsively decided to take a break from going through flashcards and study guides and signed up for a cycling class. Before that afternoon, I struggled with constantly getting sick, and with feeling unmotivated and worn out from hours spent in the library without breaks. Stepping into the cycling studio, my mindset immediately improved. As the class progressed in intensity, my muscles began to burn; with each upbeat song, the stress of the day began to fade into the background.

The transition from high school to college challenged me academically, socially and mentally. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when everything becomes so heavy, but the release and community I discovered in the group fitness class eased my mind and improved my outlook for the rest of the week. So, the next time you find yourself overly stressed and unmotivated in Swem, consider signing up for a class at the Rec.

Email Olivia Koenig at ojkoenig@email.wm.edu