I came from an undergrad institution with a really great fitness program, overall. There were lots of great facilities that were open to students and free to access if you were a member of the university. When I came to A&M, I talked myself into keeping my expectations low because I thought my undergrad was such a treat.
I’m pleased to say, A&M has raised the bar for me.
Not only is the rec beautiful, it’s never over crowded (I don’t understand that at all- my undergrad was a smaller school with two fitness centers and they were more crowded that the rec here!). You can pretty much always find the machine you want, weights you want, and there’s plenty of space for stretching once you’re done sweating-it-out!
Plus, their fitness classes are fantastic. And I personally think fitness classes are one of the best ways for graduate students to get out of their heads and into their bodies. You interact with people from all over the university and the BCS area, not just people in your program. You also don’t get to think during a workout class, you have to keep up with the instructor, stay on beat, and make sure you’re not looking like a fool in front of all these strangers doing the same bizarre thing you’re doing! And isn’t the idea of doing something completely unrelated to your work, and maybe a little odd, kind of endearing? My favorite classes at the rec are things like riding a bicycle that goes nowhere (Cycle Express at 7pm on Wednesdays), punching and kicking the air (Kickboxing at 7:30pm on Mondays), or watching myself move very slowly and hopefully keeping my balance in the mirror (Yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:15pm).
The intermural opportunities here are crazy too. My roommate is involved in two different teams of intermural sports this year and she loves it! They keep her busy when she’s out of lab with practices, games, and cheering on her teammates when she’s not playing. They even have open practices, like little unofficial games, every once in a while that I get to join her at, which has been nothing short of a blast so far.
The rec also offers outdoor adventure activities, and the rec center itself features this crazy multi-faceted climbing wall right when you walk in! I have yet to try it but gosh I want to, it looks so challenging and fun. You can also rent lots of different types of equipment from the rec to do things like kayak and canoe, if you’re brave!
Additionally, you can rent things like basketballs, volleyballs, tennis racquets and much more to play rounds of games with your friends both indoors and outdoors.
Also, working out is not just about the physical movement. It’s about the concept behind going to a fitness class or joining a team. You are actively taking time to do something good for you, something you can enjoy mindlessly. Working out sends happy signals to your brain, and that alone is a good reason to go work out. It keeps your mind sharp and your body from getting too stiff sitting at a desk or working at the bench all day.
So, seriously, whatever you’re into I have a feeling they’ve got it. Go check out the rec.
Serina Taluja is doctoral student in the Genetics program.