During midterms or periods of high stress, we tend to put aside our wellbeing in order to ~get that bread.~ Nevertheless, it’s really important to remember to take care of yourself both mentally and physically. Self-care—specifically physical activity—is a great way to manage your stress levels.
Exercise helps you release any tension and stress you may have by channelling your focus on the physical activity you are doing. Afterwards, you’re likely to find yourself thinking more clearly and feeling calmer as a result of working off your stress or taking the time to focus on something else. Additionally, exercise improves your mood by increasing your self-confidence and reducing symptoms that are associated with depression and anxiety. Lastly, physical activity also helps you sleep better. Overall, exercise is a good way to spend a break between cramming sessions (Pro tip: take breaks, they help you study more efficiently and are good for your mental health!) and it’s a great way to manage stress.
Of course, many of us are not able to exercise or don’t have access to the same facilities. Spectrum has tried to curate a list that includes various options for physical exercise open to as many of our readers as possible.
For starters, both Dodge, which is free for Columbia and Barnard students, and the Barnard gym, which is open to Barnard students only, are extremely convenient if you live on campus. Furthermore, the Barnard Fitbear program is offering free (!) classes this semester for all Barnard students. An alternative option for Columbia students and Dodge members are the Group Fitness classes that cost $170. Lastly, If you are more interested in organized sports, you also have the option to play intramural or try out for a club sport on campus.
If you are looking for options outside of Columbia, there are many places around the city that offer free trials or deals for first-timers:
- Yoga for the People: donation-based but $2 to rent yoga mats
- 305 Fitness: 10 days for $34 (a single class for people who aren’t first-timers is $34)
- Pure Barre: first class is free
- Athleta: free classes in their Flatiron location
- Lululemon Hub Seventeen: free classes at their Flatiron location
- The Ballet Spot: 2 classes for the price of 1
And if none of those are your cup of tea, you can also exercise in all the different parks and recreational places in the city.
Of course, exercise isn’t always everyone’s ‘thing,’ but you could start with baby steps and just try to use the stairs instead of the elevator (saving the environment and getting your heart rate going—a two for one!). You could also skip the subway and walk to your destination. Or, if you feel the most comfortable in your room, you could research free workout videos or tutorials to follow. The world is your (fitness) oyster!
The most important thing is to take care of yourself, especially in times of high stress like midterms. You don’t have to be a gym-buff, but being even a little active each day will improve the state of both your mind and body—and help you study better.