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Healthy Knights: Ways That UCF Students Can Utilize The Gym

If there’s one thing a college student knows for sure, it’s stress.  Everything else during this phase: new school, new living arrangements, new friends, new classes, etc. helps contribute to our friendly-neighborhood killing inner demon, stress. However, being a college kid myself and an active worry wart, I did some research into active ways to help stress without looking into harmful distractions. The gym is a great resource. It’s hard to be sure of anything when so many new things are presented to a college student, so the first thing you need to be in control of is your own body. UCF has one of the nicest gyms around. WE HAVE A ROCK WALL, PEOPLE. That being said, while it can be overwhelming, it also has a plethora of classes suitable for all needs!


  • Hip Hop Cardio

I believe it was one of the nights I had my head buried in about four different textbooks with mix-matched highlighters and broken pencils strewn about my messy room. With all the new classes, a test coming up and an overwhelming sensation of “not even knowing where to start” my roommate wanted to drag me to the gym to join her for UCF’s “hip hop cardio” class.  I didn’t dance and there was no way I had time, I thought. Now, normally, I would always advise about getting homework done first, however, my thoughts weren’t allowing me to get any work done anyway. So, even with all my worries of embarrassing myself, possibly hitting someone (or myself), and that I was wasting my time, I allowed my roommate to drag my hesitant self and there were three things I learned from that experience. 1) I am, and will forever continue to be, a horrible dancer. 2) I suddenly felt more at ease, my mind stopped focusing on all the stress that I had, and was able to take a moment for myself and actually have fun. And 3) I was most definitely going again.  When I got home, my mind was clear and I was able to focus on the next task at hand: surviving my upcoming test (which I did might I add).  

  • Yoga

Yes, I know most of us have been told about yoga relieving stress at least one time in our lives, but it’s very true.  Yoga is a powerful meditation tool rooted in healing and breathing techniques. Now if you’re anything like me, you’re probably worried that your body doesn’t bend that way and might snap in half but alas, there is hope. The hope is in the fact that these instructors know how to teach you in the correct way, so you won’t be in any pain or hurting your body. There are, in fact, different types of yoga depending on which you prefer. There is “Relaxation Yoga,” “Hot Yoga,” “Ashtanga Yoga,” and “Power Yoga.” Of course, you could just opt for normal “yoga” as well.  If you like feeling one with the sun and the feeling of burning, then Hot Yoga might just be right for you. However, for the point of this article, I will suggest the Relaxation Yoga, as that is what we are here to help with. These classes are all usually around one hour. One hour devoted to yourself. One hour to clear your head and treat yourself. Not only are you healing your mind, but you are doing good for your body as well. And you know what they say: “A healthy body leads to a healthy mind.” I’m 60% sure that is an accurate quote. I was never a believer in meditation, at least I was a skeptic at best. Yet, I started to see more and more people get into it. That’s why I decided to try it and some of the things you learn can help you in and out of the gym. Even doing some stretches in the morning allow for a clearer head and a better sense of what needs to get done. College Park Yoga is a great studio for students who rather work out away from campus and is voted the #1 most welcoming yoga studio in Orlando. 


  • Spinning

Look at this guy, old and happy. That’s how I’d like to be at that age. However, sometimes at this age, it feels like you might not live long enough to ever see anything outside another textbook ever again. There’s something about peddling at very high speeds to loud music that helps to transport you to another world. It’s also great for getting out that extra adrenaline. For getting out that extra aggression, I’d recommend “Bootcamp.” However, the name scared me away from that class.  I don’t think my minor escapades in fitness have prepared me for that course yet. The instructors are excellent at getting you in the mood and they don’t let you quit (trust me, I’ve tried.) They have this rare superpower of knowing if you’re not pushing yourself and they aren’t afraid to call you out on it either (once again, you’ll just have to trust me on this). Spinning is probably my favorite of all the classes I’ve tried however, because you don’t have to worry about looking foolish or accidentally trying to “dance” and whacking someone in the face instead.  This is just your bike and you.  Also, I’ve found if you have trouble sleeping at night, getting out this extra energy really helps ease your body and make you crave your bed. Well, maybe a hot shower and then your bed.


  • Kickboxing 

I’m sure most of us here have seen those Karate Kid movies. Who hasn’t wanted to be a kick a*s, super hot fighter?! I know I have, with all those Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider type of movies and games. Warning: you need many years of experience and training to get to that point, BUT kickboxing sure did seem like a good place to start. It sometimes feels good to be able to get a kick or punch in every once and awhile. However, the only persons butt it’s going to kick, is your own. 


These suggestions don’t take up a crazy amount of your day, but it can save a lot of headaches and stress in the future. They help with meditation, stress and even time management. Taking exercise classes helps you feel in control when you can feel like you’re a tiny fish in a big pond. It gives you that control back. Sometimes, we need to do something for ourselves. This is good for your health and for your spirit, so I encourage all to take some time and get some gym time in. I, myself, won’t push myself unless it’s one of these group classes where I can’t focus on anything else (or cheat my way out of the workout,) so I highly recommend trying to do a group class at least once. 


Photo credit: 12, 3, 4

Rachel Davis is a writing & rhetoric major with a minor in mass communication. She is a pursuer of fine arts and fine cheeses. She loves naps, Netflix and long walks to the fridge. Rachel loves films and books, you can almost always find her at her second home; Barnes & Noble, reading J.K. Rowling and J. R. R. Tolkien all day long with a soy caramel macchiato in her hand while sweet talking her wifi and telling it to be strong. She has completed two internships in social media advertising and when she's not reading or writing, she is taking pictures, editing or traveling. She has been around France, Greece (no, she definitely does not recommend riding the donkeys, learn from her bad ideas), Italy and England. Her most recent excursion has been to Tennessee where she unsuccessfully climbed (and tripped) on the Smoky Mountains. She is just trying to survive, one donut at a time.
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