November 12, 2011
It’s a Wednesday evening, and as you leave school you realize you haven’t been home in almost 12 hours. An assortment of snack foods has been your fuel for the day, and after two energy drinks and a cup of coffee, you are on auto –pilot. The last thing on your mind is going for a run or heading to the gym, especially when there is a beer in the fridge and a couch calling your name.
“Working out has many mental health benefits including decreasing stress levels,” Jon Edge, certified personal trainer at Fit Athletic Club, said. “Stress is taxing on your studies, and high stress levels can increase fat.”
According to Mensfitness.com, a good workout stimulates the body’s feel-good endorphins, and any activities including weights, sports, boxing, yoga, and aerobic exercise will ease the strain as a stress relief tool.
“I’m a big believer in the endorphins you get from working out. It puts me in a better mood and my body just doesn’t feel right if I don’t workout,” said Nick Snow, a 3L student at Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
Snow added that he thinks fitness and exercise are extremely important for law students because of what a student’s day entails.
“As law students we are sedentary either by being in class or in the library all day, and I feel it’s really important to get the muscles moving,” he said.
Once a student makes the conscious decision to get moving, motivated, and actually exercise, there are ways to achieve the best results. One such way is resistance training. According to Edge, it puts demand on the muscles and the bones, a very important aspect of working out.
“Lifting weights without cardio or doing cardio without lifting weights is like going to class without reading your books; the two compliment each other and doing both is a much more effective use of a student’s time,” Edge said.
Time constraints are a major issue with law students because of how many hours they spend studying and in the classroom. A routine that balances school, sleep, and fitness may be a struggle for students, but Snow says that one may help with another.
“Working out regularly helps me keep a normal sleep schedule which can also be tough with the stress of school,” Snow Said.
An article entitled, “Diet Myth or Truth: The Freshman 15,” by WebMD column expert, Kathleen Zelman, states that research demonstrates too little sleep, stress-triggered eating, and decreased physical activity are all factors that contribute to weight gain in college age students.
“Obesity is an epidemic in America,” Edge said. “Law students need to ask themselves why they are becoming a lawyer. If your goal is to make money, what good is it to be in debt and unable to work because you are in the hospital half the time for health reasons?”
Additionally, while fitness may be important to students for aesthetic and overall health reasons, Mensfitness.com states that in the last ten years obese women earn 6 percent less for the same work, and men earn 3 percent less than those who aren’t obese.