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Exercise your body to discipline your mind | The Triangle

Exercise your body to discipline your mind

Photograph courtesy of Daderot at Wikimedia Commons

Working out is one of the most beneficial and easy things that you can do in college. In the past it was never really something that I took very seriously, but it’s been one of the most consistent parts of my college experience since the start.

When I first came to Drexel I didn’t really have any plans to work out, but my brother who was a junior at the time told me that I should join him and his friends at the DAC in the morning. I was no doubt skeptical at first, but it was the first week of fall quarter and my schedule outside of classes wasn’t set in stone yet, so I decided to give it a try and see if it was for me or not. It was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made in the past two years.

There are a lot of different ways to get exercise, but for me it was lifting weights. Life at Drexel would have been very different had I not decided to take up a regular workout routine. There are a lot of things that I personally would have never gotten to benefit from, like waking up early in the morning, learning all the different ways that one could lift weights and just the pure feeling of accomplishment. There were many times when I can remember pushing my body to its physical peak while my friends encouraged me and then breaking that limit. Those times were by far the highlights of all the memorable moments I’ve had while working out, and there isn’t anything else quite like them.

Working out can teach you a lot of things if you take the time to really invest yourself in it. And I don’t mean you have to go online and look up the best workout programs and the most effective pre-workout drinks. You don’t need either of those things to benefit from working out, but they are nice additions if you’re really serious about getting the most out of your workouts.

When I say that you have to invest yourself in it, I mean that you can’t just show up and go through the motions without ever changing anything. If you do that then you potentially won’t enjoy it at all, and you also won’t be benefitting from it physically or mentally as much as you could be. The reason for this is because you won’t be able to make progress by repeating the same thing over and over again. Change is a requirement. Pushing yourself to your limit every time you work out may be too much for your body, but doing too little every time you work out means you won’t see much improvement. You have to try different things and see what works for you the best. It can also get boring if you only do a single routine repeatedly. A major part of the enjoyment that I get from working out comes from trying new things and seeing what I like and dislike.

A lot of people work out to relieve stress and I have done that as well, but I have found it to be better when I work out when nothing is on my mind. That’s why I always wake up to work out before the sun is up. On the days when I work out I’m always at the doors to the DAC by 5:30 a.m., waiting for them to open. It may seem a bit ridiculous, but the mornings are when I’m the least stressed about things because I’ve just had a good night’s rest. No exams or papers to worry about, no wondering if there was an assignment that I forgot to turn in, if a lecture that I missed had really important information or any of that other stuff that I found myself worrying about more and more as the day drags on.

Now this isn’t to say that everyone should wake up at 5:30 a.m. and go work out. What I am saying though is that you should make an effort to work out when you can really focus on the workout itself, as opposed to using it to distract yourself from something. I also can’t emphasize how important it is to start as early as possible. College can get really intense really fast, especially with Drexel’s quarter system, so it’s essential that you get a workout routine going early and preferably one that you can stick to. It’s also a good idea to try and bring friends, but make sure that they are genuinely interested in working out and that you aren’t just dragging them along when they don’t want to go in the first place.

There are a lot of different factors to consider when it comes to working out, especially when you’re first starting off. I wouldn’t think about all of them too much though, because it may seem a bit overwhelming and you could become discouraged. My advice would be to just set up days and times where you will be able to go and work out on a consistent basis, and then just go to the gym and get a feel of what works for you. The rest will sort itself out from there, but the most important thing is to always have fun with it and be safe.