By Dana Reynolds – Staff Writer
College students often find many excuses to avoid going to the gym. For example, they may feel too tired or are too busy to find the time. However, the benefits of getting a proper amount of exercise each day outweigh the perceived inconveniences.
The most obvious benefit is that exercising helps keep the weight off. Many students go to college and fear that the “Freshman Fifteen,” which often results from stress-eating, is in their future. Exercise can help reduce the stress that results from keeping up with the new vigorous workload of college.
“Exercising is a good way to clear your mind,” sophomore Kirsten Larson said. “Sometimes I just have to take a break from studying. Going to the gym allows me to work off my stress.”
Getting a proper amount of exercise can also help students perform better in the classroom. Cardiovascular exercise can improve a person’s circulation, which affects the amount of oxygen that reaches a person’s brain. With more oxygen comes an improved ability to perform mental activities.
Centre offers various fitness classes that work to keep students active. One of them is the Combo-Step Aerobics Class, taught by Nancy Robertson on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. The class is generally based on step aerobics, but the contents of the class vary each time.
Every hour focuses on elevating the heart rate, working all of the muscle groups, strengthening the body’s core, and improving flexibility.
“There are usually between ten to 25 students depending on campus activities and [whether it’s] finals week,” Robertson said. “We use hand weights, resistance tubes, large exercise balls, the steps, and gliders. My class is very athletic, but I offer three levels of work for each move.”
Robertson is a strong believer in the benefits of exercise. She loves to sweat and to be active and has been teaching aerobics classes for 33 years. The fitness guru is certified in dance aerobics, step aerobics, and water aerobics.
Many Centre students find that attending Robertson’s classes is more entertaining than normal exercise.
“It is way better than just running for an hour,” junior Olivia Leftwich said. “You get to engage with other people, laugh, and be silly. The instructor plays great music and makes sure that we are doing things correctly.”
The aerobics class has also been highly recommended to students who want to incorporate a strong cardiovascular workout into their regular exercise regimen.
“I get an awesome workout in aerobics,” sophomore Natalie Tate said. “It is great cardio but also a lot of great [muscle] toning that I wouldn’t be doing on my own.”
Senior Martha Grace Burkey prefers the step aerobics class because she feels empowered and encouraged to reach new fitness levels as she goes to exercise during the week.
“Personally, I get a lot out of the class when I go. I’m also the kind of person who pushes myself. You must remember that the instructors do not do the workout for you,” Burkey said. “You have to commit to having fun and going hard if you want to come out with a good and intense workout session.”
Working out should be a satisfying way to relieve stress. For those students thinking about kicking up their heart rate through step aerobics instead of running on treadmills or cycling on a stationary bike, Roberstson gives one last piece of information.
She emphasizes that she will only enforce two simple rules for her class – for students to get their heart rates up and to have fun. Robertson is a strong believer that exercise is one of the first steps to take in order to better oneself.
“I know that exercise must be enjoyable for [students] to want to do it again. I try to make my class fun and encouraging for all participants,” Robertson said. “Exercise on a regular basis improves overall health, too. Exercise, along with healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle, is the key to success.”