As a former track and cross country runner, my transition from athlete to non-active regular person (or NARP) has come as a harsh reality check. I could no longer rely on practice six days a week to keep me active; rather, I had to motivate myself to get up and get running, which isn’t as easy as one would think.

Staying active in college is much harder. Not only does a good workout make you feel better about yourself, but it can also motivate you to eat healthier and help maintain stable mental health, both of which are important components of overall health and nutrition. Here are five easy ways to stay active and stay healthy:

Yoga

By far one of the most relaxing activities out there, yoga works wonders when it comes to lowering stress levels. As reported by the American Osteopathic Association, yoga can also help improve energy levels, maintain a balanced metabolism and improve athletic performance, which is why many people who cross-train tend toward yoga on their off days. There are also many variants of yoga like bikram yoga, known commonly as hot yoga, a 90-minute class in a room heated to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Fairfield Fit offers yoga classes in Faber Hall on Mondays from 2-3 p.m., Tuesdays from 7-8 p.m., Wednesdays from 12:30-1:30 p.m. and 5-6:15 p.m. and Thursdays from 7-8 p.m.

Pilates

Pilates is one of the gentler, yet challenging activities on this list, mostly because of the mind-body components it involves. As stated on the website Balanced Body, which has been an integral member of the Pilates community for the past 40 years, Pilates can help build up core muscle groups in your back and abdominal muscles as well as prevent injuries and build upon flexibility. This activity conditions the entire body, not just one area like many other aerobic activities. Fairfield Fit offers Pilates classes in Faber Hall on Mondays from 12:30-1:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 12-1 p.m.

Running

Running is my one true love. This activity is by far the most convenient because all you need is a good pair of sneakers and you’re good to go. According to an article written for The New York Times, frequent and prolonged runs can help overall heart health, though it doesn’t protect the heart from family history of heart problems or bad habits like smoking. Jennings Beach is one of my favorite places to run to as it provides a wonderful scenic background to my run.

Biking

Unlike running, biking is much easier on your joints, knees, ankles and feet, in particular. Healthy Women, one of the leading independent sources for women’s health, reported that biking has the same cardiovascular benefits as running or swimming and makes it much easier to incorporate a workout into a busy day, especially by biking to and from work on a consistent basis. One of the best bike trails in Fairfield County is the Monroe Housatonic Rail Trail in Monroe.

Swimming

I will be the first to admit that I swim only when absolutely necessary (i.e., when trying to outswim a shark). However, a good swim workout can do wonders for your overall health. Because the water takes stress off your joints that everyday activities worsen, it works as a wonderful rehabilitative form of activity. According to Bucknell University’s website, swimming adds more resistance to a workout and prevents overheating and dehydration. The best place to go for a swim workout will be the campus pool at the renovated Leslie C. Quick Jr. Recreation Complex expected to open by next semester.

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