By Molly Dunn
Adjusting to a new lifestyle and developing a daily routine can be challenging for incoming freshmen.
Baylor’s many extracurricular activities, group exercise classes and nutrition education offered by senior nutrition majors help incoming freshmen reduce stress, uplift their spirits and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Van Davis, assistant director of fitness and nutrition education at the McLane Student Life Center, said students have many exercise options at the SLC other than the main gym.
“We have a great swimming pool. Even outdoors, in our back porch we would call it, we have our sand volleyball courts up year-round,” Davis said. “All the students have to do is stop by the front desk and check out a sand volleyball and just take a few friends out there and toss a ball around, or even check out an outdoor basketball and shoot some hoops in the back porch.”
If students like to run on a track and don’t want to run the Bear Trail, a less-known area in the SLC on the third floor has an indoor track.
”Whether they’re a runner or not, go upstairs to the third floor,” Davis said.
“That’s another kind of jewel that we have hidden, unless somebody knows about it. Our indoor track and field is a great place to stay active.”
Other than individual workout areas, students can sign up and participate in the group exercise classes offered at the SLC each semester.
Pam Long, graduate assistant for fitness for campus recreation, encouraged students to sign up for the various group exercise classes.
“We give a lot of opportunities for people, especially people who are not familiar with our program, who have never potentially been in any group exercise environment to take advantage of it,” Long said.
The first session for any Bearobics class or Bear Cycle class, Baylor’s version of aerobics and bicycling classes, is free.
Long and Davis both encourage students to try any class that they may be interested in. In fact, all group exercises will be free during the first weeks of fall semester at the Back to School Bash.
“That particular event we highlight all of our Bearobics instructors,” Davis said. “They’re going to come and teach just a small section of their class. It’s a great workout; it’s fun. You get to see a little bit of everything: a little bit of Zumba, a little bit of turbo kick, toning, yoga, Pilates, everything all rolled into one class.”
Long said that more than 1,000 people signed up to be a part of Bearobics and Bear Cycle classes in the last school year, exceeding all prior memberships.
“The fall semester is just so exciting. [Freshmen] have so many choices all year round, I would encourage them that they should never be sitting in their dorm room with nothing to do,” Long said.
“Not only because exercise is important, kind of cliché, but exercise is a stress reliever.”
Beginning college can be overwhelming and stressful.
Taking advantage of the extracurricular activities and various programs offered can help freshmen transition, Long said.
“So much of your college experience is in the relationships and in the extracurricular activities, the fun stuff,” Long said. “That’s where the college memories are made. The whole college experience is enriched.”
Students seeking advice in regards to their health and nutrition can schedule appointments with the Peer Nutrition Education Program or the on-campus registered dietitian, Dr. Regina Mastin.
Julie Smith, senior peer nutrition educator, encourages students, especially freshmen, to utilize the peer nutrition educators to start healthy habits because life on campus and eating in dining halls for the first time can be overwhelming for many.
“It can be very overwhelming when you have all-you-can-eat buffet in front of you with desserts everywhere you turn and you can get multiple plates,” Smith said.
Students can schedule one-on-one appointments with the peer nutrition educators, who are senior nutrition majors chosen by their professors and peers, to help manage their health and diet.
“What’s great about all of this is that it’s free,” Smith said. “Once you get out of school, you’re not going to find a program like this where it’s free.”