Student Affairs and Exercise

Amy Lorenz is a COCM’s Director at Bowling Green State University. You may have caught her on a recent podcast (How I Got Into Student Housing-Amy Lorenz) on the blog.  Amy wrote a really great blog post about student affairs and fitness on her personal blog, and she was kind enough to let us re-post it here.

Exercise is so important for your cardiovascular, emotional, and mental health, and yet, when we get overwhelmed or tired, it can be really easy to put on the back burner.  I work in facilities and operations, and you can bet that there is not a whole lot of exercise going on for me opening weekend!  Most weeks, though, I fit in five workouts of at least 30-60 minutes.

Since I know a lot of my higher ed friends just love research-backed claims, the CDC suggests at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week.

In a field as busy as student affairs, how do we fit this in?  Here are some tips!

  1. Embrace the lunchtime workout.  I’m a huge fan of the lunchtime workout. I don’t have to get up early or stay up late, I’m not taking away from family time, and it’s a great way to mentally recharge.  It’s also a great way to fit in working out before evening programs. I did a post on lunchtime workout tips and suggestions here.  Check it out! 
  2. Utilize your campus wellness programs.  Every institution at which I have worked has had some form of employee wellness program.  Miami University (of Ohio) had an excellent free program that included access to a faculty/staff gym, free faculty/staff workout classes, and multiple educational programs. At BGSU, I pay $60 a semester for the Group X classes.  This has been such a great investment in myself.  I have a crew of other higher ed friends outside of my office. They check in if I haven’t been around and serve as a smiling face during some crazy days.
  3. Workout at weird times. There are days when I don’t take a lunch because I have meetings squished in the middle of the day.  Instead, I’ll run at 3 pm once my meetings wrap up, and then check in with my team before I leave for the day.  You have to know if and when this makes sense for your culture.
  4. Do walking meetings.  I’ll admit, this one is a little touchy.  If a VIP schedules a meeting, I’m probably not going to call and say, “I didn’t get my steps in yet, so can we talk about this important topic and workout at the same time?!” If I have a more informal meeting, though, with a friendly campus partner, I might do this (especially if involves walking to Starbucks!).  You have to know your culture and the goals of the meeting.  I am a huge fan of walking one-on-ones with staff.
  5. Walk your building or campus. It can be easy for housing folks to forget to do that all-important weekly building walk, but it’s so important in managing your facility and knowing your students, and you can get beaucoup steps in, too!  If you are not in housing, check out a new spot on campus.  If you’re in student activities, you should know your main programming spots on campus and around town.  Schedule a walking meeting to check out one or two of those spots over the course of the week.  Do you work in academic advising?  Go to the academic buildings your students visit most and see where they spend most of their time.
  6. If you’re a parent, join a gym with kiddo care. Not all of these places are cheap, so I acknowledge that this isn’t possible for everyone. If you can, though, this can provide you with an opportunity to get moving and know that your child is having fun.
  7. Buy workout equipment for your house. This is another one that can have a hefty cost to it. I love my treadmill, and my kiddos are old enough now to watch tv while I get in a quick run.

There are a number of ways to make time for physical activity.  I’d love to see your comments on how you fit it in, or questions that I can address! AmyLorenz