“Sleep, Grades, Friends — Choose 2.” I’m sure you’re well acquainted with that phrase. Unfortunately, from experience, I know that of the three, sleep is usually the most sacrificed option. And also unfortunately, in the wake of psets, exams, and extracurriculars, sleep is not the only health-related activity that takes a back-seat.
Somehow in the mire of academics and work, leading a healthy lifestyle falls by the wayside. Whether we realize it or not, we lose a tremendous amount of productivity in not getting a consistent amount of sleep or not getting our daily quota of vitamins. Work efficiency aside, neglecting our physical health also contributes to a deficiency in our ability to tackle stress, which just makes everything that much worse.
The start of the semester and the year always signals a weeding out of the old with new resolutions. Well, maybe not so new. If you’re anything like me, some New Year’s resolutions just get old after the first five times they’ve failed. One of those resolutions, at least for me, is the one that goes along the lines of: “This [insert period of time] I am going to be fit and healthy!” You may have made this resolution once before and were perhaps successful in keeping it up, in which case I’d love to hear how you did it. However, in my case, it has typically worked well for the first two weeks of the semester, and failed after the onslaught of p-sets, exams, and work.
Perhaps it’s the way the resolution is framed — “being fit and healthy” is a pretty broad and vague terminology for a significant undertaking. Therefore, I’ve decided to make my resolution along the lines of: “This semester, I am going to exercise for 30–45 minutes a day.” But the phrasing of the resolution doesn’t mitigate the lack of motivation to actually carry out the deed. For me, routine can sometimes get boring, so I’ve found multiple ways on campus that we can get involved in small, but effective, physical activities:
1. getfit@MIT: Though the registration for this challenge passed on January 28, you can still take part in a mini-challenge with your friends. Make a team of two or three people and have about four teams get together. You can log your team hours on the getfit@MIT sheet and at the end of the week, whichever team has the highest number of minutes could get a small prize from the other three teams (maybe a gift-card to Starbucks after all those workouts?). If you don’t want to participate in a team-based affair, getfit@MIT still has some neat resources that you can use, such as a 2.5 mile walking route through our tunnels. For more information, check out their site: http://getfit.mit.edu/health-resources.
2. Gym classes at DAPER: This week, DAPER is hosting free group exercise classes. With classes like “Global Grooves” and “Strictly Strength,” this is an opportunity you can’t miss out on. Plus, take a friend with you — I guarantee it will be a hilarious experience.
3. Open recreation hours/intramural sports: Get a group of friends together for a volleyball game or some ice-skating fun. There is a schedule posted under “General Info/Hours” on the http://mitrecsports.com website. Perfect for a weekend study break, these one-hour group sports breaks can be a lot of fun and a good workout. If you want a more regular form of recreation, sign up for intramural sports. Even if you’re terrible at sports like me, IM sports are low stress and more about the enjoyment of getting your heart rate up.
4. Power-walk to class! Leave for your next class a minute or two later than you usually would and then make up for lost time by walking faster. If you do this for four or five classes, you’re automatically burning about 50–60 calories more than you might if you were just walking at a regular pace.
There are multiple routes you can use to fill your personal fitness quota for the day. How you do it is rather immaterial; as long as you engage in something you like to do for about 30 minutes a day, you’re well on your way to being a healthier and happier student.