Is going to the gym worth sacrificing homework time?


Courtesy of the Daily

Take advantage of the two fitness centers on CWRU’s campus this winter.

Christie Lanfear, Life Editor

The cold winter months have officially set in at Case Western Reserve University and taking advantage of the two primary fitness facilities on campus—Wyant Athletic and Wellness Center and Veale Center—is more important than ever. 

In addition to the crowded and intimidating nature of the gym, the allure of a warm and wind-free dorm room makes putting physical fitness on the back burner all too easy. In this article, I hope to provide you with the extra push of encouragement that you need to get from your dorm room to the gym. 

I know that you’ve most likely heard this from every physical education teacher in high school, but the benefits of maintaining physical health truly are limitless, I promise. My plan is to prove to you that going to the gym is worth sacrificing a little chunk of your homework or free time in return for the numerous benefits it has on your overall well being and success. 


Current and future physical health
In addition to making you feel good, physical exercise in college can improve your health years down the line. Starting early and staying healthy in your young adult years can prevent diseases later on, including diabetes and stroke. Even moderate exercise a few days a week can monumentally improve your health. Staying active also improves blood flow to the brain, which is crucial for optimal brain function.  


Mental health 

This is a big one. Large percentages of college students around the country struggle with mental illness such as depression and anxiety. Improved physical health can greatly boost self-confidence and release endorphins known to decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Many students also turn to the gym as a way to relieve feelings of stress that are so detrimental to overall health and well-being. 


Promote academic success

Physical activity improving the health of your heart and the rest of your body is a widely accepted statement, but what about its effects on the strength of the brain? Well, it comes as no surprise that exercising is also positively correlated to increased brain function. In fact, studies have connected consistent physical activity to higher a GPA in college students. Exercise has been connected to better focus, improved concentration, increased energy and better memory. 

So, it’s clear that exercise can not only improve your physical health, but your mental dexterity as well. The elephant in the room needs to be addressed though: how on earth can busy college students be expected to make time for the gym on a regular basis? It is hard enough just to find time to do essential tasks such as laundry. Due to our already jam-packed schedules it’s easy to make excuses for skipping a day, then two and before you know it you’ve fallen out of your gym routine. But don’t fret, there are a few simple tricks that can help you to combat any distractions. 


Bring your workout clothes with you

While seemingly obvious, having this reminder whenever you open your bag is super helpful in encouraging you to go. 


Go directly after class 

Whichever on-campus gym you prefer, going before you start your mountain of homework for the afternoon gets it out of the way and decreases the likelihood of skipping. 


Go in the morning 

Even better than going after class is going before your day gets hectic. It is understandably not super achievable if you have an 8:30 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. class, but for those of us who have a slightly later start it isn’t a bad idea to try and squeeze in a workout before heading to class. Then you can tackle your day feeling refreshed!


Find a workout buddy 

This is the best tip of all. Having someone else to motivate you to go to the gym and keep you company makes the whole experience shockingly fun and good for your body and mind. 

Now that you are more aware of the amazing health benefits that come with getting yourself to the gym and have found the time to go, which location should you choose on campus? That depends on multiple factors, including your experience level and the type of gym setup you prefer. If you are primarily interested in cardio, either Wyant Center or Veale Center are great options. Both have numerous treadmills and other cardio equipment that are separate from the weight rooms. If you are interested in weight lifting, however, there are a few differences between the two. Wyant Center has a considerably smaller weight room than Veale Center, which has three rooms solely dedicated to free weights, squat racks and weight machines. The time that you plan to exercise also dictates which gym is more suitable. Wyant Center tends to be very crowded in the couple hours after classes end, whereas Veale Center is large enough that it doesn’t ever feel quite as busy. 


Whichever form of exercise or location you choose, it is so important to stay active in these winter months. I hope this article provides you with some useful information on the benefits of going to the gym and ways to plan your schedule efficiently. I want all of you to share my love for the gym, and I encourage you to at least try it and take advantage of its many benefits.