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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Extra early-morning hours at Gosman would be beneficial

Published: September 5, 2014
Section: Opinions

While fears of the Brandeis academic workload often haunt first-year students long before they ever arrive on campus, it is the “freshman 15” that wakes them up in the middle of the night. As Steven Hoffman ’18 put it, “I am worried about the freshman 15, but only because it is so easy to gain weight if you are not watching what you do, such as eating carefully and exercising.”

The “freshman 15” refers to the 10 to 15 pounds that first-years often gain during their initial semester of college. According to WebMD, “one in four freshmen gain at least five percent of their body weight, an average of about 10 pounds, during their first semester.” Although Brandeis students pride themselves on being an open-minded, an accepting and a non-judgmental community, maintaining a healthy body weight throughout college and the years beyond is extremely important to a person’s health. Heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes are just a few of many health effects caused by obesity.

Yet despite the fact that many students are aware of their potential weight gain, they view it as an inevitable fact rather than an obstacle to overcome. reports that resisting weight gain can be as easy as “30 minutes of moderate exercise” each day, but for some Brandeis students, this seemingly simple lifestyle adjustment is quite a burden. From the time students start class in the morning to the time their heads hits their pillows at night, there is little room available for exercise.

Gosman Sports and Recreation Center, Brandeis’ main gym, opens Monday through Friday at 7 a.m. Although this opening time does give students with an early class, such as at 9 or 10 in the morning, adequate time to exercise and make it to class with time to spare, students with 8 a.m. labs are likely to suffer. Unless they plan on attending class in sweaty, stinky clothes, morning exercise is not much of an option without running the risk of having to wait outside the gym for it to open. Rather, these students will have to find time to work out during the day, whether that be in between classes, jobs or extracurricular activities. Ari Keigan ’18 said, “I don’t want to have to choose between exercise and studying every afternoon.”

Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., chief officer with the American Council on Exercise in San Diego, said, “Research suggests in terms of performing a consistent exercise habit, individuals who exercise in the morning tend to do better.” Keigan, a motivated and health-conscious student, agrees. She would be much more driven to exercise on a daily basis if she were able to do so before class. In addition to its positive scheduling effects, opening Gosman earlier would allow students who work out to have a boosted metabolism throughout the morning, thus allowing them to truly enjoy their breakfast in Sherman.

Although opening Gosman an hour earlier would reap many benefits for Brandeis’ already active and engaged student body, it can appear trivial. With Gosman open as late as midnight, it seems that students would be able to find an hour to work out in the evenings without inconveniencing student workers with even earlier hours, especially given the fact that a majority of students will not take advantage of a 6 a.m. opening time.

While these are valid arguments, it is important to keep in mind that students who commence their day with a workout are most likely to follow through with said workout. Rather than prioritizing studies over exercise, as many studious Brandeisians are prone to do, they can fulfill their daily exercise needs early and direct the rest of their energy to homework in the afternoons and evening.

According to Tom Rand, Associate Director of Athletics at Brandeis, the only requirement for the gym to be open is a trained student worker to sit at Gosman’s front desk. The position pays $8.50 to $9.20 per hour depending on the age of the student. Although the hours would most likely be extended for current employees, early-rising students wishing to earn extra money each week will have the opportunity to add a few extra hours to each paycheck.

Changing Gosman’s opening from 7 to 6 in the morning has agreeable side-effects and would make our campus more livable for all the motivated Brandeis students.