The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Achieving winter wellness: Staying fit in these last weeks of winter

    Another white Christmas has come and gone, but in clear Wisconsin fashion, the weather outside is still frightful. With Jack Frost continuing to nip at students’ noses, forcing them to dress like Eskimos solely to get to class, the last thing on most of their minds is exercise — except for those fueled by New Year’s resolutions. Physical activity, however, is just as important in the winter months, and can improve more than just a person’s physique.

    One easy solution for a winter workout is going to the gym. Megan Riordan, a junior in the College of Education, said she tries to make time every day for a trip to the gym.

    “I usually do elliptical, bike and stair master,” Riordan said.

    According to Debbie Swanson, associate director of recreational sports at the Rec Center, many more students, like Riordan, take advantage of the Rec Center in the winter months than any other time.

    “Especially between the start of the semester and spring break,” Swanson said. “That’s our highest use time.”

    Unfortunately, running in place and riding a bike that gets you nowhere can get stale. Spicing up an old exercise routine can be done at the Rec Center’s and Rec Plex’s squash and badminton courts that, according to Swanson, are barely ever used. Squash is a game in which two players take turns hitting a hollow rubber ball against the four walls of the court, and badminton is basically tennis with a cone-shaped shuttlecock instead of a ball. Swanson said competitive players can even enter a badminton tournament held once every semester.

    For those who find staying at home more their style, exercise videos are popular. Today, the market is filled with workout DVDs that aren’t exactly your mother’s Jane Fonda. Everything from ballroom and belly dancing to a whole series of workouts for dummies are available for an affordable price online or at most local retailers.

    “Exercise tapes are convenient because you can do them any time, day or night, in the privacy of your home,” said Valerie Gamsky, a sophomore in the College of Communication. “You don’t have to go out to a gym, and you don’t have to pay membership fees. You can also choose any type of exercise you want. I’ve done belly dancing, Tae Bo and pilates.”

    So grab a friend and dance off those leftover sugar cookies with hip-hop, country-line dancing or reggaeton-inspired exercises. There’s something out there for everyone.

    When it comes to a winter diet, Amy Melichar, coordinator of health education and promotion at Student Health Service, said she advises lots of fruits, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates. Tomato- and vegetable-based soups are also recommended as a great way to fill up on high-nutrient foods without unneeded calories.

    “(But) no food is a bad food. All things in moderation,” Melichar said. “And especially in winter months, lots of water to keep yourself hydrated.”
    If staying motivated is your problem, Melichar suggests that students build exercise into their daily routines the way you’d naturally brush your teeth every day.

    “Something is better than nothing,” Melichar said. “Even if it just means I walked an extra flight of stairs or parked the car in an outer lot at the mall. It all counts.”

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