Working through the Stress: Exercising for Leisure


By LAURA HUMBLE – STAFF WRITER
Without a doubt, Centre students are hard workers. At any given time of day, there is at least one person working away at a lab report in Young or a research paper in Crouse. Chances are that student only works his or her mind on a regular basis, but not his or her body.

When most people think the word “exercise,” they think, “excruciating, mind-numbing torture.” People want to spend an hour on the treadmill about as much as they want to eat Cowan for dinner on the weekends.

But are there ways exercise can be anything other than a chore? Can it even be—dare I say—fun?

“I do all sorts of exercises for [fun],” senior cross-country runner and lacrosse player Andrea Merchak said. “That’s the magical thing about exercise. It’s really limitless. One day I will go out and play tennis, the next I will go out for a nice long run, and the next I will play soccer or lift. That’s just on my own time too. I also do organized sports, [but] I would say my primary motivation for participating in varsity sports is just the fun of it.”

Junior volleyball player Beth Cecil also branches out of her sport to try other things. “When I’m not in season … I like to go for about a two-mile run. If I have time after, I try to do some core exercises. Also, if I can get enough people to play, I like to play wallyball in the racquetball courts,” Cecil said.

Now, if you’re thinking that only varsity athletes have fun exercising, you’re wrong.

“I really enjoy weightlifting, and occasionally running,” senior Kyle Bezold said. “Weightlifting is the way to go. It can help you stay in shape faster and I can see my results better than I could if I just ran. It’s also not as boring because you can switch it up each day and do it with other people.”

A common thread here is social interaction. If you find that the only social interaction you get is with Breaking Bad’s Walter White on your laptop screen, consider getting some friends together for a game outside while the weather is still nice.

“For me, exercise is also a social activity. The vast majority of my friends are very active and so we go out and exercise together. Also, a lot of exercise is [playing] games. Who doesn’t like games? … Right now maybe your options to hang out are to go to Taco Bell … or just sit and hang out. Add playing racquetball or circuits on the track to that list,” Merchak said.

Perhaps you are still saying, “But circuits on the track sound painful.” What then?

“Try not to view it as something you have to do. Make it something you get to do.” Merchak said. “Mix it up whenever you’re inspired … Be spontaneous and try your hand at shooting hoops … Run the steps on the stadium for five minutes like they do in movies just to see what it’s about. Maybe afterwards running won’t seem so bad.”

“Use exercise as an outlet from your studies,” Cecil said. “Exercise is a great way to step away from a busy schedule and take some time for yourself.”

“It’s a break from things that is also productive. I feel like I can accomplish something [when I exercise],” Bezold said.

That’s the idea that keeps Merchak exercising. “I love the feeling of exhaustion, knowing I worked hard, knowing I will be hungry when the next meal comes around, and knowing that I will sleep well that night.” Merchak. “I also love the feeling of being in great shape. As a runner, the mid-season feeling of strength and endurance makes me feel like I could accomplish anything … Being able to say two weeks ago I could do 15 pushups and now I can do 20 is pretty rewarding.”

In short, if you want to get into exercising: try something new, do it with a friend, and have fun.

Sutcliffe Hall is open on Monday through Thursday from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.


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