“I believe in a sound mind, a sound body, and a spirit that is not afraid.”
The Auburn Creed is rife with lessons that we can learn from and use to really shape the way we live our lives. These lines in particular have always stood out to me as an important reminder, and as time goes on they become more and more relevant to all of us. As we all breathe a collective sigh of relief with the ending of a year that we wish we could forget, we have shifted our focus on making the most of 2021. However, if there’s one thing that we took away from 2020, it’s that keeping a sound mind, a sound body, and a spirit that is not afraid, should be at the forefront of our life checklist. While this may sound like something that is easier said than done, it really is easier done than said. Auburn offers up a number of resources to help students. Some dedicated to physical health, some to mental health. One that is dedicated to both is group fitness.
The Campus Rec has been offering group fitness classes since before we even had the beautiful facility we call the rec today. In years past, students would flock to the old Student Act to attend only about 7 classes that were offered a week. Now you can find over 70 classes a week in a variety of formats. When diving deep into the benefits of fitness, especially group fitness, it is evident the numerous advantages it provides, from physical gains to just finding a release from everyday life. In short, group fitness is what you need to re-shape your 2021.
“[Group fitness] It gives me so much confidence and helps me shake off whatever kind of day I had.” (Abby, Dance Fit)
We all know that physical activity is important to a healthy and sustainable life, and being healthy is as imperative as ever in today’s world. There are many steps we can take in order to keep ourselves and those around us safe: wearing a mask and washing your hands are prime examples. But let’s not stop there (please don’t stop wearing a mask), let’s add in another step, light to moderate exercise. Studies have shown the many connections between exercise and immunity. Physical activity helps flush harmful bacteria out of the lungs and airways. It helps antibodies and white blood cells circulate and detect illness, and the rise in body temperature may prevent bacteria from growing. Unfortunately, not everyone is comfortable in the gym. The crowds of people standing by machines and racks, the lack of knowledge of what exercise to do or how to create a proper workout… these are feelings I am all too familiar with. If you find yourself in the position of knowing you want to exercise, but not knowing how, give group fitness a shot. We have a dedicated team of certified instructors, all with the passion of helping students live healthier lifestyles, and breaking down the walls between you and the gym. This semester we are striving to create the healthiest atmosphere possible. From keeping all participants 6 feet apart, to deep cleaning all equipment between classes, and even offering live stream classes for those wanting to move at home, we want exercise to help prevent you from getting sick, not increase that chance.
“I feel like my best self and love the feeling of strength after a good long workout!” (Kyra, Tigerpump)
It is no question that physical health is important in our current times, but let’s talk more about mental health. The day to day stress and anxiety that college students face is immense, and a global pandemic has not helped. So right away I want to remove the stigma that mental health should be something we keep to ourselves. If you are struggling with any form of mental health, even the smallest bit, reach out to someone. A friend or a parent, maybe even a professional. Auburn also offers resources for students to help them out. Student Counseling and Psychological Services can be called 24/7 at 334–844–5123. And yes, another way to care for yourself mentally, is group fitness. Studies show that just 30 minutes of exercise can reduce stress and release endorphins that boost our mood. Aerobic exercises, such as cycling or HIIT, have been shown to also reduce anxiety and depression. I know that these forms of exercise are not everyone’s favorite, and our goal at Group Fitness is to help ALL students. Nine times a week we have our amazing yoga classes, to help find some peace and serenity, and to really breathe for just a little bit.
“Yoga has helped me find balance in my life. It has taught me how to be kind to myself, and the importance of taking time to relax. Through my yoga practice, I have learned breathing techniques to help calm my body and life lessons from yoga philosophy. I am thankful for yoga because it has been a light for me in difficult times.” (Mary Grayson, Yoga)
And Mondays you can find our Mindful Monday Meditation livestream. The current climate of society can have us feeling isolated, keeping our circle small and staying home when possible. Yes these things are very important and should be done, but that doesn’t mean we have to be alone every day. It’s called group fitness for a reason… having that community around us creates that feeling of security and happiness. “What I love most about exercising with a group is that we all feed off the energy of one another, having a better workout than exercising alone. Group fitness creates community and connection!” (Hope, Kettlebell AMPD) Group Fitness takes our safety precautions so seriously because we want to be able to build that community. We want you to be able to look at that person six feet away from you who is just as tired but also working just as hard. The mental health benefits of group activity are countless. Working on our mental health is no easy task. It calls for some action to be taken. Find what helps get you through it, from talking to moving, we are all here to help each other out.
The time is now. The time to really take advantage of all of the different circumstances in life that we are facing. By being proactive and making the decision to focus in on both your physical and mental health, you will see the rest of the year in a whole new light. I promise you, getting out of the house is the first step and the hardest, but once you make that step, it is a domino effect… one that leads to a sound mind, a sound body, and a spirit that is not afraid.