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Exercise

Physical exercise is an integral part of our lives, as it improves overall well-being and keeps us healthy. Exercise is not only a good way to build up muscles and the cardiovascular system, but also is an efficient way of relieving stress. As college students, we often are overwhelmed by the amount of work we have—whether it be problem sets, research or other daily issues that swamp our minds—and tend to forget about exercise and its benefits. When considering the benefits of exercising, we must ask ourselves a couple questions to get acquainted with the idea of exercising in order to stay healthy at Caltech. 

WHO Exercises? 

All Caltech students and faculty exercise. A basic form of exercise is walking, but it can require discipline to walk enough to gain health benefits. It is recommended that individuals take at least 10,000 steps each day for exercise, which can be kept track of by a pedometer. Walking around Caltech is a fun way to enjoy the beautiful campus, learn about the significance of Caltech history, as well as get some fresh air in sunny Pasadena. Because campus is safe, it would be a good idea to take a walk by yourself or with some friends, as a way to enjoy your time at Caltech. If you would like to walk around campus while learning about the interesting experiences of some of our well-known faculty, please join us for our scheduled Walk-and-Talk program, scheduled to start January of 2012. This will be a great way to get some physical movement in while gaining some insight into the lives of our wonderful faculty at Caltech. 

WHAT is Exercise? 

Exercise is a way to improve both your physical and mental well-being. A few minutes of dedication per day can improve your health. Exercise can help you boost your mood, lose weight, reduce risk of heart diseases, strengthen the cardiovascular system and improve your overall quality of life. Furthermore, exercise can help to reduce stress, regulate your sleep schedule and relieve depression levels. Being college students, no one will tell you what you have to do. However, if you want help or tips for creating an exercise routine, there are many resources you can look to: the Caltech Health Educator, Jennifer Levin (jlevin@caltech.edu); the Caltech Counseling Center (www.counseling.caltech.edu), the PE courses offered per term, as well as your house UCCs and Health Advocates. The biggest factor in exercising is being able to motivate oneself and keep oneself healthy. Remind yourself of your goals and find some friends to exercise with. After a workout, you will feel so much more relaxed and be one step closer to reaching your goals! 

WHERE Can You Exercise? 

Caltech has gyms that are open to its students, with reasonable hours of operation to easily fit into your busy schedules. 

Braun Athletic Center Hours: 

  • Mon – Fri - 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. 
  • Sat. & Sun. - 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Aquatic Hours 

  • Mon. – Fri. 
    • 6 a.m. – 9 a.m. (Adult Lap Swim) 
    • 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Lap Swim 
    • 1 p.m. – 8 p.m. (Recreational & Lap Swim) 
  • Sat. & Sun. 
    • 10 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. (Recreational & Lap Swim) 

At Caltech, you can always welcome to use these facilities, which include a pool, a basketball gym, Elliptical machines, treadmills, a weight room and other sports rooms such as badminton and racquetball to help meet your needs. You can visit the website for more information (http://www.gocaltech.com/Recreation/Facility_Hours_and_Services). If you have a passion for one sport in particular, no matter what prior experience you have, you are always welcome to join a sports team at Caltech. We have basketball, soccer, water polo, fencing, tennis, track and volleyball, among many others. Joining a team would be a good way to meet a lot of other people interested in the same things as you, giving a great bonding experience to team players. It is also a way to get your mind off academics for a while and get in some exercise and relaxation through sports. Contact a coach if interested. 

You can also manage your exercise routine by taking the PE courses offered each term on REGIS. Each term, there is a variety of physical education courses available to meet your needs, whether you want to learn something completely new, or have found a passion and want to continue it. You can visit the REGIS website, http://regis.caltech.edu/, each term to learn about the new course schedule for the fall, winter and spring terms. Read the descriptions for the PE classes offered to find one that you might be interested in. 

For off-campus ideas, you can always plan something friends with your friends. Be sure to wear sunscreen while outdoors, as well drinking lots of water to keep hydrated. Visit the Caltech Y website to explore possible hiking adventures into the local mountains, http://www.caltechy.org/. The alternative winter break or spring break trips to other places are a good way to build a new experience through volunteering in other countries. Furthermore, by looking online, you can find plenty of camping and hiking options in the Los Angeles area (http://voices.yahoo.com/easy-hikes-near-pasadena-89380.html). The opportunities are there for you—you just have to go out and actively find them! 

WHEN Can You Exercise? 

You can exercise whenever you have free time! Instead of being lazy and chatting with your friends online, get up and actively exercise with your friends. Meet up at the gym, walk around campus or plan a hiking trip. Take about a half-hour each day to exercise and you will see that you will be able to boost your energy levels, better regulate your sleep schedule and keep yourself fit, while creating long-lasting relationships with your peers. Make it a part of your daily routine, just as if it were a weekly problem set. The consequences are just as rewarding! Any amount of exercise is better than none at all. For good health, remember to exercise one hour, three to five times a week. 

WHY exercise? 

Numerous studies show that regular exercise increases life expectancy and improves overall health. It can help you to avoid the onset of many diseases related to the heart or the bones. Benefits to exercise are increased energy levels, giving you the opportunity to accomplish other things, as well as an improved self-image. Exercise controls weight, improves your mood, prevents health diseases and promotes better sleep. You can even calculate your Body Mass Index online to see where you stand (http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bmicalc.htm). But most importantly, exercise is a great way to feel better about yourself and keeps you a happy, healthy Caltech student. 

- Alison Tan