When I started college, I had the same fears as everybody else: will I be able to handle my class work? Will my roommate and I get along? And most importantly, will I make friends?! But after settling into my routine d finding a group of people I love to hang out with, one college horror still haunted me: the Freshmen Fifteen.
Although my high school years had been filled with volleyball and other recreational sports, in college I suddenly stopped exercising. I didn’t even have the long walks to school like I had in high school, and having an unlimited meal plan definitely didn’t help. In October I finally got my act together and headed to the gym.
I had all the regular reasons for going—stay fit, lead a healthy lifestyle, stress reduction, etc. But after my first day I discovered an entirely new reason for going to the gym: endorphins. Cardio activity gave such a boost to my mood it was incredible. Leaving the gym I couldn’t help but smile at how great everything was—the sky, the people around me, the feeling of doing something great for my body. Although I had started going to the gym just because it was healthy, it turned into something much more personal, a form of medication in a sense. It’d lift my spirits when the long winter days seemed to drag on, or put a smile back on my face when classes or social drama tried to wipe it off.
Endorphins are a neurotransmitter released during exercise (as well as during times of excitement, pain, danger, the consumption of spicy food, love, and more) and create a feeling of happiness. I called it ‘self-medication’ before because it’s like taking an instant anti-depressant, yet naturally—and legally.
I know you’ve heard all the reasons for why you should exercise more before: it reduces health risks, improves brain functions, etc. But try exercising for endorphins instead; it might be more motivating than attempting to avoid that heart attack when you’re 60. Your school is a great place to start, colleges often have free gyms available, and free or cheap classes that you can take if you want something more than a treadmill. Public gyms around New York also have great deals for the summer and/or for students, so don’t be afraid to try those out. Synergy Fitness Clubs have a student promotion of $39 monthly; Crunch has a summer student special for $199 for the entire summer; New York Sports Club has an all-year student discount for $20 a month. Other gyms in the New York area include Equinox, David Barton, Bally Total Fitness, Lucille Roberts, and more. Campus Clipper also offers more discounts to a wide variety of fitness locations, so check them out.
Picture from: www.vinylpulse.com
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