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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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Self-esteem important for academics, Rec Center helps to achieve balance

Kanye West’s workout plan may not work for certain students, but a good fitness regime is essential to being a well-rounded and healthy student.

There are many benefits to working out and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Many students are using the newly-renovated recreation center, said Karyn Smith, health educator and personal trainer at the Rec Center.

“Over 2,500 people use the Rec during the week,” Smith said. “We have a variety of equipment, all of it is new. There’s lots of strength training … and plenty of cardiovascular equipment for those who like cardio.”

If students do not like working out using equipment, then there are plenty of group exercise classes for students— fitness wise.

“We have around 40 group exercises several times a week, beginning at 6:15 a.m. to 9 p.m. I personally love BodyPump,” Smith added.

The health benefits of working out are far greater than many people realize, Smith said.

“With regular exercise, students reap a lot of benefits,” Smith said. “Exercise can help release endorphins or the ‘happy chemicals.’ It also increases brain power and boosts productivity when you need to get things done. I’d say it’s a lot better than Starbucks.”

Self-image is also important when it comes to fitness and students’ attitudes, said Mike Zickar, chair of the psychology department.

“Self-image and self-worth are directly related to students, especially students with depression,” Zickar said. “Poor self-image leads to students not going to class, less likely to have motivation and work hard. A modest fitness routine will be a protectorate and make students much more resilient to the stressors of everyday life and giving them access to resources, such as the counseling center.”

Chris Irvine, a second year graduate student, agrees that the health benefits are worth the work.

“I work out around 5-6 times a week, usually doing everything. I’m avid in resistance training so I fancy myself to be pretty knowledgeable,” Irvine said. “Working out makes you more alert, energized. It’s a stress reliever. It decreases your heart rate and helps your sympathetic drive. I used to be a personal trainer, so it works.”

Senior Trisha Conley loves the health and academic benefits; she values and takes a surprising approach to her workouts.

“I usually work out 4-5 times a week. I lift weights because it’s my passion,” Conley said. “I hate cardio. I work the dumbbells, targeting a different muscle group each day. I’m happy after I work out. I feel more productive in the classroom and it definitely positively affects my GPA.”

Smith agrees with the relationship between being fit and maintaining a good GPA.

“As far as the correlation academically, it’s tremendous,” Smith said. “We have wonderful testimonials on our Rec Well website. On average, the University’s average GPA for those students who don’t engage in physical activity is a 2.5 while those who work out is a 3.13. Exercise helps to sharpen memory, and I definitely recommend it to students who have insomnia because sleep is directly related to a good GPA.”

For students who are new to working out and get bored easily, Smith said she can help with that as well.

“Start slow,” Smith said. “When myself or a student personal trainer is starting a fitness program with a student, we figure out what the students like to do, because a student won’t stick with something they don’t enjoy. Once we determine that and set a few goals, we try everything to see what you like. Schedule workouts around your peak performance time.”

For students curious about where to start, Smith has information they may find helpful.

“A students group class pass is $45 dollars a semester and that gets you access to unlimited classes. For students who need nutritional help, we will recommend them to the registered dietician in dining services to address their needs,” Smith said. “We have free equipment orientation that students can sign up for where a personal trainer teaches them how to use all the new equipment, and we also have an exciting program coming up on September 30 called Eat Right for Life, which will teach students, faculty, staff and community members to switch to a whole foods, plant based diet and cooking and eliminating processed foods.”

For the students who need a little motivation and like free stuff, the Rec has something for them as well.

“We are proud to introduce our free monthly fitness challenges,” Smith said. “Students can come in, do a challenge [September is dumbbells] and if they get a high score, they can win a BGSU t-shirt. “The Rec has something for everyone. Boredom should never be a factor.”

Irvine agrees.

“Just embrace it all, have fun and get fit,” he said.

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