T-Shirt Time: Hitting the Gym
By Lindsay Keare
Published on Friday, February 22, 2013
You’ve got a huge history paper due tomorrow and you’ve been hunkered down in the stacks all Sunday. KAF cookies and lattes have been your source of fuel, but now you’re starting to feel lethargic. You know half an hour on the treadmill would probably make you feel better, but the gym seems miles away, so you continue to stare at your computer screen and hope the words will come to you.
We often seem to fit more into our day than is humanly possible. We make time for class, studying, meetings, rehearsals, going out, hanging out and so much more. But when things get so crazy that we have to make decisions, being healthy — probably one of the last things we should be willing to sacrifice — sometimes takes a hit.
Dartmouth kids are pretty good at carving out time in our schedules for exercising and eating well. Our campus makes this extremely easy, as skiing, ice skating, running, hiking, playing sports and working out with weights and cardio machines are things we can do minutes from our dorms. Dining options like FoCo and Collis — and yes, even Novack and the Hop if you look carefully — also offer numerous ways to eat healthy, with smoothies, salads, whole grains and other good-for-you foods.
Catherine Baker ’15 said that, on the whole, Dartmouth students are incredibly conscious about exercise and good eating habits.
“It’s kind of disturbing to me, when I go to the gym, how hard it is to get on a treadmill,” Baker said.
Indeed, anyone who’s ever been in Alumni Gym around 5 p.m. knows that you’ll likely run into almost everyone you’ve ever met. But however good it is for you, and despite the fact that it serves as a mental break, working out, and eating well, tend to fall by the wayside as students get busy. Case-in-point: the gym was infinitely more crowded the first few weeks back from break, when work had not yet ramped up and New Year’s Resolutions were still fresh in people’s minds.
When people realize that a few hours at the gym mean a few hours away from the library, working out may be speedily sacrificed, even though exercise is a great way to relieve stress.
Lack of time can also prompt Dartmouth students to make poor dining choices. Stress eating seems to be a common phenomenon on campus, according to Danielle Short ’13.
“You want to eat really quickly so you don’t think about what you’re going to eat, and you end up grabbing a sandwich and snacking, which is not very healthy,” Short said.
Unfortunately, students’ healthy habits may not be enough to counter some of our more unhealthy vices, namely drinking and not sleeping enough. These things have a tendency to catch up to us, especially if we’re not working out or eating well.
“If you go out and you’re not sleeping and you’re drinking, no amount of exercise or eating [healthfully] can really compensate for that,” Baker said.
Kirby Spivey ’16 said that the benefits we get from performing healthy habits are essentially canceled out by the bad things we do.
“Sadly, there’s no such thing as counteracting unhealthy with healthy,” Spivey said.
Even if this is true, exercise and eating healthfully undoubtedly make one feel better. So next time you’ve been reading the same sentence in your public policy book over and over again, take a break and hit up the court, the field or the trails. Despite losing an hour or two of “studying” (let’s face it, you’d probably just be on Facebook anyway), your body and your brain will thank you in the long run.