The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday January 19th

Exercise creativity in ?nding activity

I hate the StairMaster. It hurts, and it’s not fun. And seeing as I usually don’t intentionally inflict pain upon myself while doing things I don’t enjoy, I don’t use it.

That seems pretty logical to me.

But every day, many of us deliberately engage in activities that are awkward, painful and unenjoyable, all for the sake of exercise.

I have a hard time understanding why.

Guidelines suggested by the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine say that healthy adults ages 18 to 65 should engage in at least 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise five days a week.

But who says that has to involve the StairMaster?

There is a reason why so many people hate exercise. They exercise when they don’t want to, and they engage in activities they hate.

Pavlov’s dog drooled when it heard the bell because it knew food was coming — not because it was about to get punched in the face.

If you create that negative association for yourself, you’ll never like exercising.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

There is a way to get your 30 minutes without hating every second of it.

First, we shouldn’t work out if we really, really don’t want to work out.

I don’t mean you should lead a completely sedentary life and justify it by saying you aren’t in the mood to stand up.

I mean that if you are relatively active and typically get your 30 minutes, and one day you’re just not in the right mindset for exercise, give yourself a break.

Second, we should consider the kind of exercise we’re doing and ask ourselves if we actually like it.

The answer shouldn’t be no.

Thumbs up for working out at all, but if “no” is your answer, perhaps you should reconsider your methods.

There are so many ways to get the right amount of exercise. Pick one that interests you.

Instead of meeting friends for coffee, meet them for a walk around campus.

Thirty minutes could turn into an hour.

Play basketball with your hallmates from freshman year. It could be a tearful reunion and a workout session, all in one.

Join an intramural team. You might even get a blue shirt out of it.

Rent one of Carmen Electra’s “Aerobic Striptease” DVDs. Healthy and practical.

Or if you haven’t already, maybe you could even give the gym a try.

Note: I do work as a fitness monitor and a group fitness instructor at the SRC — and no, I was neither paid nor promoted to write this column.

But as of last spring, an average of 2,973 people used the SRC, Rams Head Recreation Center, Fetzer Gym and Woollen Gym every day.

It’s fantastic that so many people utilize these resources, but considering there are 28,700 undergraduate, graduate, dental, medical and law students at UNC, that number could be a lot higher.

And maybe not everybody hates the StairMaster as much as me.

Abbey Caldwell is a senior journalism and international studies major from Charlotte.

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