Fun! Fitness! Freebies! Today’s spotlight is Friday Fitness

Fitness is not rocket science! Plenty of opportunities for activities are readily available.

By Kate Alexander

Here at NextStepU, we care about the big things – and the little things – of your life. While we want you to have a chance to keep up-to-speed on career options, student life, and day-to-day needs, we also want you to have some fun, so Fridays are about you. Fun! Fitness! Freebies!

With your life currently focused on what’s next – looking ahead to your success in college or career – it can become easy to neglect sitting back and considering the present.

As an upperclassman in high school – or a transfer student already in college – sometimes all the planning and scheming for the future can mean creating more stress for today. As a high school English teacher for six years, I saw how preparing college applications created pressure for students. On top of keeping up with studies, working hard to keep grades high, engaging in extracurricular activities, and – quite often – working after school and on weekends, applying to colleges became another part-time job. I used to tell students to calculate about 40 hours per application, when one combines going on college visits, securing recommendation letters, writing, re-writing, and re-re-writing application essays, taking the SATs or GREs, etc. The list goes on.

So in the midst of all this, how does one stay focused while remaining healthy? Relaxed? Happy? One key? Fitness.

At, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests that teens can benefit from 60 minutes of physical activity daily. That doesn’t mean that we actually do, though, right?! But the benefits are incredible. And productive. It helps create success by simply having fun doing some kind of activity. It melts stress, improves focus, drives our happy hormones up and gives us more drive to continue the physical activity. Who wrote that law stating that bodies in motion tend to stay in motion? Oh yeah. Newton.

Now, physical fitness isn’t rocket science. During high school, plenty of opportunities for activity are readily available. You’re probably already involved in some – maybe you’re on the football or volleyball team, you run track or swim. It’s not just an extracurricular activity anymore. It’s a way to stay well and basically, to succeed in other areas of your mental, physical and emotional life.

But, what if you’re not an athletic type? It doesn’t mean you get to stay in the library all afternoon studying or sit at your computer constructing worlds on games. Even if your personality type is not “fitness,” you can find ways to exercise. Here are 3 ideas to consider:

  1. Evaluate: look at what you’re already doing – and not doing. Consider what ways you already have fitness as part of your routine. If it’s just theater after school, you might be doing choreography and dance. Or, if you’re not, try it and you might just enjoy it. Think about ways to increase whatever you’re already doing with fitness, even if it’s just once or twice more a week.
  1. Maybe you’re not on a varsity team, but you love soccer. Try intramural or community leagues – or start your own with friends.
  1. Consider classes – you didn’t start taking ballet when you were four, but you’ve always been interested in it. Don’t stress about looking silly in front of pre-professional classmates who are winning awards for their routines. If that doesn’t interest you, think about what classes you could take that would reduce stress, help you relax, and re-focus.

We’ll be sharing some class ideas in our next Fitness Friday.


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