By John Frank Little Jr. & Caitlyn Kane.
Exercise doesn’t have to mean taking time out of your day to go to a crowded, time-consuming gym. In fact, being a City College student already makes you pretty active. With the escalators frequently out of order, classes on all ends of campus, elevators not working, and walking uphill from whichever way you commute, CCNY students are no strangers to non-workout work outs.
“After walking up that hill from 145th I’m nearly sweating and out of breath by the time I get to class,” says film and video major Ned McNenny.
That’s just what the students, faculty and staff who have developed the Healthy CUNY Initiative (HCI) like to hear. The project aims to make CUNY the healthiest urban university in the United States by 2016 and ensure that students graduate healthy and able to protect their futures– while acknowledging the strong connection between educational achievement and health.
“The goal of the HCI is to help increase programs and policies that make it easier to make healthy choices [like exercise] at CUNY,” says Patti Lamberson, the HCI project coordinator. Here at City College, HCI organizers hope to motivate students to get physically active by using the campus as their own personal gym.
Being in good physical condition benefits students in several ways. It improves grades, prevents illness, gets the blood and energy levels flowing, helps maintain weight, and staves off depression. Exercise releases chemicals in the brain that improve moods and keep the libido high. It doesn’t take much to feel these effects; just a little added activity to your daily routines.
Choosing the stairs over elevators, walking briskly, or biking to school—these are ways to increase physical activity. Julia Fitzgerald, an international relations major, says she does “speed walking to class, because I don’t have time to go to the gym.”
Other students need more convincing about the power of exercise. When caught waiting for the elevator in Shephard Hall, MCA student Tracey Zhen explains, “I’d rather wait for the elevator. I’m mad tired from walking up these hills to get to school and after a long day. I just don’t have the energy to take the stairs.”
If you need more motivation—or ideas for ways to increase exercise—follow the tips below:
Whenever you see a stairwell, use it. Don’t wait around for the elevators. Taking the stairs keeps your heart rate up and may even save you some time.
Walk to and from the subway stations or bus stops. Walking is a great way to exercise and beats waiting for the unreliable shuttles.
Ride your bike or skateboard, instead of taking the subways or buses to campus.
Try getting off the subway a stop or two before your regular stop. And take advantage of the intense hills surrounding our campus to get an extra workout in before class.
Rather than staying on campus for lunch and eating at the cafeteria, walk to a new healthy place. You can try something new—plus sneak in some exercise.