GREENSBORO, N.C. — Kelly Magner is a junior at UNC-Greensboro and sees how the sedentary lifestyle most of her classmates lead can get them in trouble.
“They’re more focused on what you’re paying for and so they put exercise and things like that on the back burner, I think, for the four years they’re in school,” Magner said.
She saw it in her friend Taylor Bogdahn.
“I danced, three to four days a week,” Bogdahn said. “I’d go in for two or three hours a night, sometimes four.”
But most young women’s activity level drops significantly after high school because they’re no longer playing sports or, in Bogdahn’s case, dancing.
“You hear people tell you, ‘You’re going to get a freshman 15,’ so that was my motivator,” Magner said, talking about the typical weight gain of most college freshmen. “Because, honestly, it was hard because I thought I was naturally in shape. So, it kind of like hit me that I was in shape because I played sports and that’s not what was happening in college.”
“Time is what we hear as an excuse – I just don’t have the time,” said Jill Beville, UNCG’s director of recreation and wellness.
“When it comes to college students and even older adults, the thought of exercise is you have to go to somewhere to do it: I have to go to a gym, I have to belong to a gym and that costs money and a few other things and that’s not always the case,” Beville said. “You can go hiking, you can go for a bike ride, you can walk in your neighborhood, you can go for a walk around campus, park a little further at the grocery store and get a little more exercise in.”
But can a few flights of stairs at work or walking from the back of the parking lot really make a difference?
“I think it’s a mindset but you have to start somewhere and so sometimes just starting as simple as parking a little further or going for a walk is a great place to start,” Beville said.
See what UNCG is doing that and other colleges are also trying to help battle the freshman (and beyond) bulge.