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Rutgers Recreation explains how even busiest students can incorporate exercise into schedules

 – Photo by samantha casimir

So you have classes to attend, office hours to visit, papers to write and club meetings to attend. You’re a well-rounded college student, but there’s one thing you’re missing: exercise! Many students say that what stops them from getting to the gym are their jam-packed schedules.

But the Rutgers Recreation centers are there for a reason. The biggest obstacle for students trying to find time to exercise is incorporating it into their busy schedules so she works to advertise the accessibility of the gyms, its programs and its events, said Marian Kapp, assistant marketing director for University Recreation Centers.

Many students utilize the gyms, especially during the beginning of the school year and again after New Year’s, Kapp said. Peak times are at about noon and the evening around 5 and 6 p.m. But there is a noticeable drop-off during midterm and finals seasons.

During midterms and finals when gym participation typically drops, the Rutgers Recreation tries to help students by hosting free yoga, meditation and spa events, Kapp said.

“We have a lot of events that can help students through those stressful times," she said. "We’ll try and promote them to help students along with finals and studying and to relieve that stress.”

Rutgers Recreation also funds several events throughout the school year. For Parent and Family Weekend from Oct. 16 to 18, there are yoga and meditation workshops for students and a family member, a family feud event, rock climbing and if you have a flex pass, you can bring a family member to any flex class on Sunday.

Rutgers Recreation will also be sponsoring a Kandy Klimb rock climbing event for Halloween, a wellness workshop that covers all aspects of health and fitness care, and the Big Chill, a 5k run that donates toys during the Holiday Season, according to their website.

But despite all of these programs, it can still be difficult to get to the gym. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 1 in 5 adults from ages 18 to 64 meet the 2008 Physical Fitness Guidelines, where the most time spent for moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (like brisk walking) was two and half hours per week, and two days of strength building.

Bria Woods, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, said her largest obstacle to making it to the gym is finding a way to fit an exercise routine into her class schedule.

The sedentary nature of a college education barricades students from improving their physical health, according to

Qadirah Muhammad, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences first-year student, said one of the ways that she incorporates exercise into her schedule is by walking to all of her classes whenever possible. 

“Every little bit counts,” she said.

Any amount of physical activity can improve a person’s health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. For students, it is especially important.

"(It) can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age …  and may improve academic achievement in students,” according to the website.

But time in the gym is only affective when combined with focus on nutrition, which Muhammed, Woods and School of Arts and Sciences Sophomore Alyssa Ramella said can be extremely difficult when eating at the dining halls on campus.

Ramella said when she eats in the dining hall it’s difficult to eat healthy. She said that she lives in an apartment now so she is not reliant on the dinning hall for every meal, which is a relief, but as a first-year student it was especially challenging.

“It’s hard to eat something that’s not a salad,” Ramella said. 

Muhammed also said that when you are eating on a meal plan it’s all about balance, but agreed with Ramella that it often leans toward only eating salads. 

“Especially since I’m a vegetarian I feel like they don’t really have anything for me there. It’s either fried vegetables or there’s chicken in (the dishes),” she said.

But the University does have resources to promote a healthy lifestyle at school, such as nutrition specialists and trained staff in all of the recreation centers. 

“Students shouldn’t be hesitate to start exercising or be intimidated by the gym-regulars on campus when beginning to start their own work out regimes,” said Yousef Agaiby, School of Arts and Sciences first-year student.


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