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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

How facilities can help keep resolutions

Published: January 17, 2014
Section: Opinions

Many of us pledge that with this new year, we will eat healthier, exercise more often, lose weight, and the like, and these are all wonderful goals, but college students aren’t exactly known for their healthy lifestyles. We stay up late snacking on chips and cookies, eat at an all-you-can-eat buffet and treat ourselves to alcohol, which is definitely not low in calories. The “freshman 15” did not get its name for no reason. With the freedom of college, we do not enjoy home-cooked meals where Mom makes us eat our veggies but rather the liberty to any and all food our hearts desire. How exactly, then, do we honor these New Year’s resolutions to commit to be fit?

Many complain that Brandeis does not have enough places to eat, especially commercial venues and restaurants, but as far as health goes, that could be a good thing. Fast food is loaded with sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol on top of the entire day’s worth of calories in one meal. However, many other kinds of restaurants are not great options either because they offer large portions and numerous sides heavily doused with cheese or sauce. With only Louis’ Deli, The Stein, the Faculty Club and the various cafes around campus, including Dunkin’ Donuts, Einstein’s, Starbucks and the new Peet’s Coffee, there are not many options for fast food, and if it’s not available, you cannot eat it.

However, there do not seem to be a lot of appetizing healthy options either. As far as eating kosher, the salad bar is very limited, and though sometimes the side dishes taste good, there are more French fries and hamburgers available than steamed veggies. Often the stir fries and chicken or beef dishes are loaded with sauce. The non-kosher eaters have more options not only in Sherman but also in Lower Usdan. While Upper Usdan has more fast food, Lower has a large salad bar and several stations offering a wide variety of options. However, as a small school, Brandeis only has so many dining options.

Along with their limited dining options, Brandeis has somewhat limited exercise options, but there are certainly enough opportunities if you are willing to find them. Though there are a few cardio machines in East Quad, North Quad and the Village, along with Gosman, the weight-lifting room and the pool, although nice facilities, are quite far from the rest of campus.

However, if you want exercise, there are other places to find it besides in the gym. Brandeis offers a multitude of club sports including archery, badminton, boxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu, cheerleading, crew, equestrian team, fencing, field hockey, gymnastics, ice hockey, ice skating, krav maga, lacrosse, Quidditch, rugby, sailing, skiing, soccer, squash, swimming and diving, table tennis, uechi-ryu karate, ultimate frisbee and volleyball. The multitude of dance troupes, including Ballroom Dance team, Adagio, B’Yachad, So Unique and Kaos Kids, offer a different style of exercise that can be just as exhausting as lifting weights.

Intramurals are another great opportunity to exercise in a fun, stress-free environment with friends. Though badminton and basketball are open right now, Brandeis also offers squash, water polo, dodgeball, baseball, softball, kickball, tennis, soccer, flag football, volleyball and table tennis. Just visit the Brandeis Athletic Department website and register with a group of friends. There is not a large time commitment as every person on the team does not need to show up at every game. Exercising as a group not only brings you closer to your New Year’s resolutions but also brings you closer to your friends.

Finally, all Brandeis undergraduate students must complete two gym classes unless they test out of them, but that doesn’t restrict them from taking the classes. Gym classes are open to everyone, and some students take more than the required two classes: “The PE courses that the university offers are a great way to commit to the gym often and to have guidance in your workout. I just started my fifth one today,” said Ariana Berlin ’14. There are plenty to choose from, ranging from First Aid to Dance Dance Revolution to Fencing—along with all of the typical gym classes like Volleyball and Basketball. If you like working out as a group, you can also join a group fitness class such as Ab Blast, Zumba or Cycling in Gosman.

The truth is, there are limited opportunities to eat healthy food, but there are limited food options on campus in the first place. Though there are not a ton of options, a fair amount of fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats are readily available. However, there are plenty of ways to start exercising either on your own, in one of the gyms across campus or in a group through a gym class, intramural sport or group fitness class to help you accomplish your New Year’s resolutions.