After sitting through lecture after lecture from 8-5, I’m sure all of you are ready to take off and hit the gym for a long workout, right? Wrong! Sitting through hours of lecture or a long day in clinic can make you want to do everything but work out. The benefits of breaking a sweat go beyond a fit body. Your body will get a great endorphin boost, and it can be a great way to get rid of the stress that dental school can bring. Beyond the basics of hitting the road for a run, I’d like to share a few fun and unique ways to fit in exercise.
Are you a gym member, but don’t like the treadmill? Try a class! Grab a friend and hit up a different class each day to find your favorite. Classes are evolving to more than step and slimnastics. Check out Pound, Barre Conditioning, and Yoga Sculpt for some variety. If you’re not a gym member but want to join one, check if they give student discounts. Most do and you’ll save a ton on your monthly fee!
Can’t get to the gym, but have enough space in your place to move? Try an online workout! Search “HIIT” on YouTube and you will find a ton of high intensity interval training workouts that vary from 15-45 minutes. When you feel really short on time, this can help you get your workout in without leaving your apartment (Also, not having to get out of your holey sweatpants or look presentable is an added bonus!)
An important note is to make sure you do something that you enjoy. If you hate to run, don’t do it! Take a fitness class, roller blade, or get a kickball game together with your dental buddies. If you enjoy what you’re doing, your mind and body will thank you for it!
To round out my health and wellness advice here are Cassie’s Top 5 Fitness and Wellness Musts:
1) The US Surgeon General recommends five 30-minute workouts of moderate to high intensity each week. This can be modified into 150 minutes each week if five days seems a bit much for you. Wondering what moderate to high intensity means? A simple test is the talk test. If you can chat away to your workout buddy without a struggle, then it’s time for more moving and a little less talking!
2) Variety is key! Take a few classes, go outside for a hike, play pick up basketball, etc. This will keep your body guessing and prevent you from feeling like a hamster on a wheel!
3) Hold yourself accountable. Find a time that works for you every day and put it in your iCal/personal planner/phone. If you find yourself wanting to skip, find a dental friend to workout with. You both will be happy to get a sweat in after that 4 hour lab!
4) Don’t forget nutrition! Yes, we are dental students, and yes, the Dollar Menu is cheap, but proper fuel for your body is just as important as an intense workout. Your body and mind will thank you for a healthy diet.
5) Last but not least, catch your Zzzz’s! Although you might feel the need to study all night and wake up early to get back at it, or even pull the frightful ‘All Nighter,’ get in bed! You should aim for 6-7 hours at a minimum every night. Caffeine will only go so far before your brain and body will want a hiatus from the dental world.
Do you have any health and wellness tips that help you get through your daily schedule? Share them in the comments below! Also, check out the Fitting in Fitness article in Mouth for more information.
~Cassie Hale, Colorado ’16