Fitness center helps students countdown to finals with workout challenge


(From Left to Right) Matt Maisto student worker, Megan Viento student worker, Jessica Scibek Assistant Director of the Fitness Center, and Lushka Vasquez student worker are all counting down the days until their fitness challenge is complete.

Aaron Berkowitz General Assignment Reporter 

Southern Fitness Center’s Assistant Director Jessica Scibek said she is urging students to “sweat it out” for their Countdown to Finals Challenge and stay in shape especially with finals creeping closer.

“We know that at this time of year papers are due, tests are happening, and finals are coming so it can be tough for students to stay motivated and continue exercising or taking care of themselves,” said Scibek. “A lot of students get overwhelmed with their school work. Usually, one of the first things to get cut from a student’s schedule when they start preparing for finals is their time to workout. We hope to change that.”

Scibek said the decision to do the Countdown to Finals Challenge was actually a last minute idea that stemmed from a conversation she had with her student workers.

“We wanted to do something fun to help the students who may have fallen off the wagon a little bit,” said Scibek. “We also want to make sure that the people who are exercising and being consistent right now, are motivated and stay that way.”

Jamie Rowland, senior liberal arts major, said it’s his first year at SCSU where he has not been a member of the Fitness Center and he vouches for the positive effects exercising has on his rate of productivity.

“When everything goes according to schedule I am in the gym four nights a week. It’s the most relaxing way to end a day in my opinion,” said Rowland. “After a long day of classes, stress and homework I can’t think of many things better to do than go blow off some steam at the gym.”

Scibek said the challenge began Nov. 10 and will run through the 21 days that the fitness center is open until Dec. 5.

She also said her staff and her have chosen new workouts to show students who may be stuck in their routines with the opportunity to earn points for prizes.

“Any exercise that you decide to do while in the center is one point, but if you come in and decide to do an exercise or activity that we recommend you will receive an additional point towards your total,” said Scibek. “Some people only do cardio, they never pick up a weight, so they’re missing an important component.

Students can sign up for yoga classes, sign out a foam roller, sign up for an expresso bike account, or any of the other recommendations made by the Fitness Center staff in order to earn one of the extra points.

Students who are members of the fitness center are eligible to win including a fitness towel, gift certificates, or a free membership to the fitness center next semester.

Scibek said the goal is for the staff to support the students on campus by offering different ways to help manage their stress.

According to an interview Matthew Stults-Kolehmainen, Kinesiologist at the Yale Stress Center, did with the Huffington Post there is now evidence proving that the increase in heart rate from exercising can repair damage to the brain caused by stress.

“Stress atrophies the brain, especially the hippocampus, which is responsible for a lot, but memory in particular. When you’re stressed, you forget things,” said Stults-Kolehmainen in the interview with Huffington Post.

Scibek said the overall goal behind this program is to make sure students are feeling better.

“I know how it can be,” said Scibek. “You need to stay up later to study so you drink a lot of coffee. You drink less water and sometimes eliminate your workout because you don’t have time. Regularly exercising can reduce some of the stress that comes along with that and give you the energy you need to make it through the day and feel better. We’re hoping the students don’t give up.”

Photo Credit: Aaron Berkowitz

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