Athletics have always been a large part of my life. I've always enjoyed watching and following different sports and teams (Go Pats, Go Celtics). Growing up, I played a variety of sports and was lucky enough to be on a number of great teams. I made great friends through the sports that I played and the teams that I was on.
I learned many lessons about sportsmanship, leadership, and what it means to be a team player. In high school, I decided to focus all of my attention on my favorite sport, basketball. When it came time to hang up my jersey for the last time, I couldn't help but wonder how I would fill that void when I went away to college.
Basketball had always been a huge part of my life, but I decided not to pursue playing at the collegiate level. I knew that I would have the chance to play here and there when I went away to school, but I knew that I would not have the same experiences that I had in the past.
When I got to school, I developed a routine of going to the gym every day. A lot of people called me crazy, but I quickly came to the realization that not only was it a good thing for me to do for my own health, but that my daily trips to the gym actually made me feel better mentally, physically, and emotionally. It's no secret that college students are pressed for time.
There are days and nights that seem endless, and it's almost like we're stuck in a constant cycle of never ending papers, exams, and assignments. However, finding time for yourself in the midst of all the craziness is important, too. Going to the gym can provide a number of benefits to all of us, and some of them are:
1. You'll walk out feeling so much better than you did when you walked in.
Some days, it's hard to find the motivation to go work out. For the average college student, it often seems as though there just aren't enough hours in the day. When there's any down time at all, it's easy to just want to watch Netflix or take a nap. However, I've found that devoting an hour or more to exercising actually helps to break up a long day and it also helps you to organize your thoughts and the rest of your day. Whether you prefer to go in the morning or at night, exercising at the gym will almost always improve your mood. It's impossible to feel bad after a good work out, despite how much you might have dreaded starting it.
2. It's a place to clear your mind.
Our daily lives are more often than not incredibly busy. Stress due to assignments and everyday life as a student or employee is all too common, and sometimes it can be extremely overwhelming. I've found that going to the gym helps me clear my mind. Regardless of what I have on my plate going in, I always feel that when I leave, it's not as overwhelming as I had initially thought it was. For an hour or more, I can put aside any of the concerns that I have or the deadlines that I have to meet and just focus on the task at hand. A good run accompanied by a good playlist can do no harm.
3. There's always a new workout or class to try out.
Whether you like to run, do yoga, lift weights, bike, or use the elliptical, there's always something new to try out when you go to the gym. Going with your friends and trying out new classes or workouts can make the time fly by, and it also helps to be surrounded by good company. And if you feel like you're ready to quit, your friends will surely be there to motivate you and encourage you to keep going!
4. It encourages you to set personal goals.
If you had asked me at this time last year if I would ever run more than 2 miles at a time, the answer would have been absolutely not. Going to the gym on a regular basis encouraged me to take on training throughout the summer for a half marathon this past September with a bunch of my friends at school! Once I started the training, I incorporated various components into my every day routine and became hooked on the feeling of achieving more than I thought I ever could. It was such a rewarding experience. Obviously, goals vary- and that's a good thing! Every goal is a good goal, and when you achieve your specific goal, you will feel so great about what you've accomplished and that feeling will encourage you to keep going and strive for more.
5. It provides you with time for yourself.
Regardless of the number of activities, clubs, or organizations that you're a part of, it's always nice to set some time aside specifically for yourself. Going to the gym to exercise gives you that personal time in the midst of all of the day to day events that you have going on around you. It provides you with the time to collect your thoughts, focus on yourself, and also to step back and reflect on the ins and out of your daily life.
For these reasons and many others, going to the gym is 100 percent worth it and it will positively effect your life in a variety of ways!