As we start to move into the month of April and the weather begins to warm up, so does the pace of exams, finals and practicals. As a student, it can be hard to get outside and enjoy the nicer days when there seems to be endless work to do. However, as stressful as school can be, one of the best ways to deal with it is to get active and exercise. Graduate school makes it a little tougher than college to do that since you’re sitting in class most days from 8-5 and then spending the night studying. A weekly exercise routine is still possible and important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While some students find relief by hitting the gym before or after a long day of learning, it is understandable that others find the gym tedious or monotonous. Many of us have heard the spiel about the benefits of exercising regularly, both for a student’s mental and physical health. Luckily, the Philadelphia area (and Salus University) offer many different options to help students stay active throughout the year in ways that don’t involve a treadmill or weightlifting. And of course, many options that fall within the tight budget we have as students.
The flowers and trees are beginning to bloom again, making many of the areas parks a perfect place to walk off the studying blues. My personal favorite is the Wissahickon Valley Park in Chestnut Hill. The Wissahickon Creek flows throughout the park surrounding the 50 miles of hiking trails. The trails are offer gorgeous views as you make your way up the mountain. There is also a path for those who prefer to bike or prefer a flatter trail. Alverthorpe Park is only a 5 minute drive from the school, making it a good option when you need a break from the library or just can’t practice in the lab anymore. A quick search on google will reveal more parks and hiking trails in the area, giving someone lots of options when choosing where they would like to go depending on how far they are willing to travel.
For those who prefer to stay inside away from the bugs and heat, the Hafter Student Community Center on campus offers intramural sports and exercise classes to beat the monotony of working out. Intramural sports rotate throughout the year; basketball in the fall and volleyball in the spring. There is currently no school-sponsored intramural sport during the summer. Even when scheduled games are not happening, you can often find a pick-up game in the Hafter gym of either volleyball or basketball. Workout classes are also offered five days a week, depending on the instructor’s schedule, and the classes vary each day. Pilates, yoga and cycling are just a few of the classes offered and attendance is included in tuition for students. If you want to get a break from campus and venture out, there are also several studios and gyms in the area that you can find on Groupon which make it affordable to branch out and try a new place within a couple miles of Salus University. Martial arts, rock climbing and kick boxing are just a few of the different activities offered in the surrounding area.
If you’re willing to splurge and treat yourself (and have access to transportation), there are a few more fun things I’d recommend trying for a study break. Last summer my friends and I ventured over to New Jersey where we went tubing along the Delaware River. Tickets and rentals came to about $50 for the day on a weekend, but this also included a lunch along the river. While tubing down the river, some of us ventured off the tubes and swam around while others just floated along. We enjoyed a day of sunshine and laughs as all 15 of us tried to stay together along the entire journey. Make sure to secure all your belongings along the ride so you don’t lose anything! It was an awesome way to get away from school and do something active together. Last winter we also took a break one afternoon and ventured to a trampoline park. For less than $20 we got a workout like no other (surrounded by a bunch of little kids and teenagers but we still had fun). While these activities require a little more time and money, they were awesome ways to get active and we enjoyed every minute of it!
No matter what outlet you’re looking for to get physical, the Philadelphia area has it to offer. Each student has access to the gym on campus, but there are several ways to get creative if you can’t see yourself using it. One of my biggest pieces of advice for surviving graduate school is working small breaks into your routine to give your mind and body a break. I’ve found that it not only makes me feel better, but I’m able to focus and absorb more material while I’m studying. It also makes paying attention in class a little bit easier because I don’t feel so restless all the time. These daily habits not only help you get through the stress of school while here at Salus University, but help to set you up with a healthy routine for the rest of your life.
- Kelsey is a second-year optometry student at Salus University