Pillbox

Achieve stress relief through exercise

The university offers many facilities where students and staff can work out and relax, ranging from rooms with treadmills and weights to raquetball courts. (credit: Celia Ludwinski | Photo Editor) The university offers many facilities where students and staff can work out and relax, ranging from rooms with treadmills and weights to raquetball courts. (credit: Celia Ludwinski | Photo Editor) Yoga can be a fun way to relax and take a break from the craziness of academics. (credit: Celia Ludwinski | Photo Editor) Yoga can be a fun way to relax and take a break from the craziness of academics. (credit: Celia Ludwinski | Photo Editor) In addition to spending time on your own in the exercise rooms, the university also offers various exercise classes covering all interests and skill levels. Best of all, they’re free. (credit: Celia Ludwinski | Photo Editor) In addition to spending time on your own in the exercise rooms, the university also offers various exercise classes covering all interests and skill levels. Best of all, they’re free. (credit: Celia Ludwinski | Photo Editor)

As Carnegie Mellon students, it’s no understatement to say that we get overwhelmed at times. Whether it’s school work, clubs and activities, or just trying to fit a little fun into our busy schedules, students at this school tend to get stressed out. Interestingly enough, Carnegie Mellon students can get pretty creative when finding ways to deal with stress.

For some, stress relief can be as simple as biting one’s nails, chewing bubblegum, or maybe just closing e-mail and textbooks to pig out on the couch for an hour and watch some television. While these tend to be some of the easiest ways to relax, some students have found more creative methods, like cooking, painting, or even dancing.

For those of you who have yet to pick your specific stress relief activity, try choosing something that can actually be beneficial for you, whether it helps you practice a skill, save time on another activity, or generally make you happy. Exercise can actually be a great way to relieve stress — for students who choose not to participate in team sports, it can be a great way to incorporate a workout into their study-oriented schedules.

The Carnegie Mellon campus and Pittsburgh community have plenty of resources to help us work our bodies and relieve our minds. Whether you prefer to be out and about in the city or in the comfort of an air conditioned room, there is certainly something for you. With all of the available options, however, the key is merely finding the one that works best for you.

Club sports

There are several positive aspects of joining a team sport. First, being on a club team means that you are allowed to organize your own schedule and practice times. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with work on a certain week, you won’t be reprimanded for missing practice. Furthermore, joining a club sport allows you to incorporate social time into your stress relief. While the exercise in general is a great break for your overworked brain, you will also get the chance to meet new people and get your social fix during practice times.

Indoor activities

If you’re in favor of a more traditional workout, the Carnegie Mellon campus has several resources for you. For some, the most relaxing time of the day involves sweating on an elliptical machine while listening to a favorite song on an iPod. Carnegie Mellon has several indoor training areas including the Cost Varsity Weight Room, Skibo Gym, and various University Center facilities.

For those who are bored by the idea of indoor cardio workouts or weight training, fear not. Many students choose to spice up their workouts by taking advantage of the various facilities on campus and equipment that is accessible from the Issue Desk in the UC. From tennis and racquetball courts to basketball in Wiegand or something as simple as a football or Frisbee; the Issue Desk has it and, best of all, it’s all free for Carnegie Mellon students.

Students can even turn their stress relief workout into a group activity by organizing a couple of friends and reserving a tennis court, or getting a group together to use the indoor pool. If you haven’t yet seen the whirlpool and steam room facilities within the University Center locker rooms, be sure and visit. You’d be surprised at how relaxing they can be.

Exercise classes

If you have the time, joining a university-taught gym course could be the perfect stress relief for you. The university offers a large variety of classes, including kickboxing, yoga, dance, pilates, and cycling. The best part about joining a university-taught course, besides being able to do it with a group of friends for no additional cost to your tuition, is the attention and guidance you get from the professionals teaching the course.

Atypical exploration

Outside of the Carnegie Mellon campus bubble, there are plenty of activities around the city that incorporate exercise with stress relief. If you’re feeling a little campus-claustrophobic, why don’t you organize a group to go hiking in the Laurel Highlands or in Oil Creek State Park? If you’d like to spend some time on the water, you can go kayaking, canoeing, rowing, and sailing at various locations around Pittsburgh. These activities allow you to see several places in and around Pittsburgh that you might not have seen otherwise and show off the beautiful Pennsylvania landscape. Don’t forget to bring your camera.

If you’d prefer to do these activities with a group of people, the Carnegie Mellon Explorers Club hosts several activities throughout the school year including skydiving, kayaking, white-water rafting, and more.

Parks and recreation

Lucky for us, by living in Pittsburgh we’re never far from one of our city’s many giant, grassy, tree-covered parks. For those students coming from non-urban environments, a trip to the park is like escaping the sometimes intimidating city environment.

Organizing a gathering of friends to go ice skating in Schenley Park or to play a game of Frisbee or golf could be a fun and fit way to relieve stress. Try gathering some friends together and organizing a biking trip to explore all of the parks within the Oakland area.

Exercise is just one component of stress relief. Though you’ve probably heard it a thousand times, eating healthily and getting to sleep at a reasonable hour are beneficial to maintaining your sanity. For all the first-years, it may be that your friend at another university is able to party every night and maintain his or her academic and relaxation levels; however, it’s important to realize that you are at Carnegie Mellon. Because we are part of a campus community that focuses so intently on academics, the experience is different and you may find yourself making compromises. The sooner you are able to realize this, the sooner you will be able to find the schedule that fits your needs.

If you do choose exercise as a means of stress relief, the best way to find what works for you is to simply try everything. Chances are, by doing everything, you’ll not only have a fabulous time, but you’ll help your body stay fit and keep your mind stress-free.