Fitness options not too far from home

Though students opt for dorm fitness rooms, fitness experts advise to keep workouts varied.

It is hard enough to go to class, not to mention the gym, when the temperature drops to 30 degrees or below.

Fortunately, it is easy enough to get a comprehensive workout that doesn’t require walking in the cold, rain or snow to get to the gym. Students living on campus have the added advantage of fitness equipment that Temple provides in every Main Campus residence hall.

A combination of cardio, resistance and stretching provides the best workout geared toward general weight loss and maintenance. The elliptical trainers and treadmills available in residence halls give students the chance to get a cardio workout without having to go out in the cold.

Temple students keep up with treadmills in the upper level of the IBC Student Recreation Center. Many students, however, prefer to work out in their own residence hall (Carroll Moore/TTN).

Tricia DePoe, a fitness coordinator at Temple, suggests students alternate between the treadmill and elliptical trainers or use both on some days.

“You don’t ever want to do the same routine all the time,” she said. “Your body gets used to it, and it’s not as beneficial.”

She also advises students not to hold onto the treadmill when walking or running.

“When you swing your arms, you are increasing your heart rate and getting more of a workout,” she said.

For cardio activities, DePoe tells students to focus on their heart rates, noting that the benefits of increasing heart rates include burning fat, losing weight and strengthening the heart.

Assistant Director of Student Recreation Anne Wilkinson, who also serves as an adjunct professor in the department of kinesiology and the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, emphasizes the importance of working at an increased heart rate.

She recommends working at levels students can keep up with, but that would make having a conversation somewhat difficult.

As for how much exercise, students need to maintain or lose weight, Wilkinson said, as she follows the “Fitness, Intensity, Type and Time,” principle guidelines. By FITT standards, workouts should be between 20 minutes and 60 minutes, as many as three to five times per week.

Wilkinson said the most important thing is to simply get moving. If students cannot exercise for 20 minutes, she said one way to get to this level is to start with three 10-minute exercise sessions a day.
In addition to doing cardio with the treadmills and elliptical trainers available in the residence halls, students can do resistance and stretching exercises without having to leave the building.

Free weights and weight machines can be used when available, but students can use their own body weights for this type of exercise. Push-ups, lunges, squats, sit-ups and back extensions are just a few resistance exercises that can be done without fitness equipment.

Such exercise is important for weight loss because your body burns more fat at rest when it has more lean body mass. Resistance training also tightens muscles, increases strength and tones. It is important, DePoe notes, to work arms, legs and abs into your regular exercise routine.

Wilkinson admits that students will feel minor aches because “if you are doing it right, you will feel it.”
To deal with these aches and pains, Wilkinson emphasizes the importance of stretching. She advocates stretching as a means of reaching a fuller range of motion, repairing muscle and relieving stress.

As with resistance training, stretching can be done almost anywhere and does not require students to walk in the cold, snow or rain to get to a gym.

With any and all types of exercise, Wilkinson advises students to drink water before, during and after working out.

“If you’re thirsty,” she said, “you’re already dehydrated.”

Electrolyte sport drinks, however, should be avoided unless exercising for more than 60 minutes. These drinks provide more calories than health benefits.

Wilkinson also stresses the importance of safety measures such as telling someone when and where you plan to exercise.

As the cold winter months linger, do not let the weather keep you from staying in shape. With a few basic exercises and the assistance of Temple’s fitness equipment, you can stay in and still stay fit.

Christine Fisher can be reached at

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