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The Scarlet & Black

Motivation when it’s snowing: Grinnellians hit the Bear

Photo by Xiaoxuan Yang. The Bear Recreation and Athletics Center offers a warm haven for those trying to live a healthy lifestyle in below-freezing temperatures.

By Louise Carhart

As school swung back into session this past Monday, after what could have been a never ending winter break, the gym at the Bear Athletic and Recreation Center saw a tide of returning students looking to reap the benefits of a healthy 2017. While some student-athletes returned early to their competitive seasons, the average student was faced with a snowy trudge across Mac Field and the complexity of lateral pull down machines. Here, your peers offer reasoning and advice for picking up a regular winter workout routine.

Getting to the Bear is difficult on a normal day, but add in below-freezing wind chill and any combination of sleet and snow and that task quickly becomes an ordeal. For some students, relying on structured time for exercise is important.

“I do (work out), mostly during school … when there’s structure,” said Anushka Joshi, ’18, who also plays for the Grinnell Women’s Tennis Team. Joshi finds that vacation time often does not provide the necessary push to exercise, so getting into a routine is beneficial.

Some take advantage of physical education classes that set a meeting time and count on a pass/fail basis.

“I force myself to work out by taking a [physical education] class during a free time,” said Oonagh Jordan, ’17. “I’m currently in conditioning where basically they give you a workout plan made for you, so I have to go to the gym in order not to fail.”

These classes range from high intensity interval training (HIIT) to pickleball. All count for one or half of one credit and have no enrollment costs, but introduce students to the athletics staff and allow non student athletes to take advantage of the expertise and knowledge they offer. There are no base line physical requirements and are open to all who wish to participate.

Often, the motivation for exercising comes from a quest for balance between academics, extracurricular activities and personal time. Many students expressed a desire to improve their mental health through physical activity, as the resources for this specialized care are often not readily available. Exercise offers some a break from the regular school day and allows them time to focus on themselves and not a deadline.

“I think about the consequences if I didn’t show up, which would be increased stress,” said Corey Simmonds, ’17. “I’m here because I feel like I have to be. It just helps me deal with the rest of the work and the stress of being here.”

This sentiment was echoed by many students who felt that this time was invaluable to managing their personal stress and focusing on their overall health. As the Student’s Health and Counseling Services (SHACS) continues to work on providing comprehensive mental health care, students have taken it upon themselves to ensure they are providing themselves with the necessary self-care.

“I think it’s important to take time to be a human being and not just a student while at Grinnell,” wrote Halley Freger, ’17, in an email to the S&B. “For me, I realized that working out is a nice break and helps me feel good. I’ve also created a schedule with friends so that we can work out together and that’s great motivation. Also, I want to get swole! I want to be powerful and able to defend myself. But really my ultimate goal is to be strong/confident enough to store and retrieve my carry-on luggage on airplanes without random men immediately coming to help me.”

The desire to be physically healthy is a strong draw for many as they brace themselves for the continuation of the infamous Iowa winter. As we move into the grayer part of the year, the bright lights, exercise shorts and shiny weight machines of the Bear have a lot to offer for those looking to escape. None of this is better articulated, however, by Sam Burt, ’17.

“Just trying to get swole, my dude,” Burt said during a pause in his workout. “You’re exercising inside when you’re here.”

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