One of the great things about attending a university like Michigan is that, as students, we have access to fantastic fitness and recreation facilities. Now, we all know that Michigan loves its football (if you haven’t heard yet, trust me, you will!). But as much as we might cheer on our teams from our seats at the Big House, let’s face it: not all of us are born athletes! Nevertheless, I believe that there is something for everyone here. From yoga, to zumba, to putting together your own basketball team (you don’t have to be all-stars), this campus has it all. This is the best time to get involved and get started!
The University of Michigan has three fitness facilities, and they’re all free for students. These centers have weight rooms, a pool, equipment to rent and lots of cardio machines. For me, the best way to stay motivated was to register for group classes, which cost an extra fee for the semester, but are totally worth it. They’re tough workouts, but they’re also super fun. They can also be a great way to meet new people, from different programs and departments.
|Matthaei Botanical Gardens Trail|
If you need a break from the old routine, consider an outdoor adventure! Ann Arbor is home to lots of fantastic walking and activity trails. My favorite places to walk are the Arboretum (“the Arb”) and Island Park, which takes you along the Huron River and is beautiful in the fall months, when the leaves start to turn. If you’re feeling ambitious, take a trek along the Border-to-Border Trail, which runs throughout several parks in Washtenaw County.
Don’t want to walk? Biking is a great option in Ann Arbor, for both leisure and day-to-day transportation. Be careful when biking on the roads and make sure to watch for pedestrians, when you’re using shared pathways. It’s courteous to use a bike bell and say “on your left” when approaching people from behind, so that they know to let you pass. Also, watch for deer! As you will discover, we share the city with lots of wild animals. Once, while biking up on North Campus, I rapidly turned a corner, only to come face-to-face with a full sized buck, antlers and all! No one was hurt, but we gave each other quite the fright!
Check out more information about bicycle rentals, safety guidelines and cycling paths in Ann Arbor.
But where’s the time to do all this stuff? In my first year as a student here, I was overwhelmed by all of the new demands of graduate school life. Especially during finals, it was so easy to sit, hunched over my desk, for hours at a time.
Science proves that exercise is good for the brain – that physical activity can actually sharpen your memory and your ability to think clearly. So, in a sense, being active is not really “time away” from your studies (although breaks are certainly important!). Think of physical activity as an investment into your research or coursework. After all, taking care of your body is taking care of your mind – and you might as well have some fun while you’re at it!
Written by Marissa Spada