Junior Claire Froman and senior Kamryn Matthews in the spin room of the George H. Roche Sports Complex before Matthews leads a class. Allison Schuster | Col­legian

Bal­ancing time between arduous study ses­sions at the library, scram­bling to meet office hours, and extreme class schedules is dif­ficult, so some stu­dents find it helpful to add time at the Roche Sports Complex into the mix. 

Stu­dents often look for ways to manage intense aca­demic and social stress. At Hillsdale, many stu­dents exercise for the physical and mental health ben­efits. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise in any form can relieve stress, and provide plenty of other health ben­efits. 

Junior Claire Froman finds her study stride while running. When expe­ri­encing dif­fi­culty con­cen­trating on homework problems in the evening, Froman typ­i­cally steps away from her work to go for a short jog outside, and then returns with a clear mind. 

“Running is my way to escape from my problems in the world,” she said. 

Her shorter evening runs usually range from two to three miles. She runs five to six miles in the afternoon because she feels safer in the day­light and has more time for exercise. 

According to Froman, running is methodical and reminds her to put one foot in front of the other and focus on breathing, which she uses as a tool to help soothe her anxiety.

Running is her go-to exercise activity, Froman said, but she enjoys switching it up and trying other group workouts or high-intensity interval training when in a more adven­turous mood. 

“Running is what I know that I love,” she said, “but some­times when I’m in a dif­ferent mood I get more out of dif­ferent exer­cises and exer­cising with other people.”

She listens to music while running, the genre fluc­tu­ating along with her daily running goals. Some­times Froman listens to upbeat music to brighten her mood or more calm music to relax. Her pace changes throughout the course of a run as well, so her playlist may change mul­tiple times throughout. 

Froman has also attended Senior Kamryn Matthews’ spin classes held at the sports complex in the past, and she said she enjoys the way her mind and body feel after each class. Indi­vidual stu­dents find dif­ferent results with certain exer­cises depending on per­sonal pref­erence. Junior Jessie Collins, for example, turns to yoga as her stress reliever. Sophomore and swimmer Becca Briskey enjoys swimming laps as a way to destress after a long day of classes.  

Matthews enjoys all forms of exercise. As a student-athlete, she works out around three hours each day including tennis practice and her own per­sonal exercise routine. This routine is any­thing but routine, however, as she does every­thing  from high-intensity interval training to lifting to cardio.

The mental health ben­efits she gains from time in the gym are part of what inspire Matthews to work out, she said, agreeing with Froman that it is an escape from her other problems. It is dif­ficult being a student and spending so much time sitting down studying, she said, so ded­i­cating time each day to physical movement recenters Matthews. 

“It’s really nice to go from studying and classes and just do some­thing that gets your mind off of every­thing else,” she said. “It’s my little chance to get away.”

The mental boost she receives is in part due to the awareness of her body’s physical improvement. 

“Every time I workout, I think of it as making myself better,” Matthews said. 

Knowing you’re advancing your health and fitness goals is mood-boosting even if you don’t see physical changes right away, she said. 

“It’s mental and physical in that you know you’re doing some­thing good for your body,” she said. 

It is espe­cially helpful for stu­dents since it can create a pos­itive mindset toward aca­d­emics. Instead of just focusing on grades, she has per­sonally learned to focus on how studying and learning help her grow and improve. 

Assistant Ath­letic Trainer Dan Hudson said he rec­om­mends stu­dents get at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. He empha­sized this doesn’t mean an intense 30-minute lifting session in the gym, but it can mean several short periods of physical activity throughout the day, such as 10 minutes of walking three times. 

Exercise boasts many ben­efits, Hudson said, including relieving stress, reducing anxiety, releasing hor­mones asso­ciated with hap­piness, and boosting mood. 

For stu­dents in par­ticular, he said, it is important to exercise for the mental ben­efits. When he was in college, he studied for final exams while on a spin bike, which he said helps with cog­nitive brain function and improves memory. The majority of the Hillsdale student body is healthy and con­cerned with regular exercise, according to Hudson. He admits that working mostly with ath­letes skews his per­spective, but he also teaches physical health and wellness and sees stu­dents reg­u­larly working out; he thinks stu­dents here tend to take care of them­selves. 

In terms of what exercise most effec­tively relieves stress, Hudson said it com­pletely depends on per­sonal pref­erence. Just as Froman prefers running long dis­tances out­doors and Collins opts for a relaxing yoga class, everyone releases stress dif­fer­ently. 

“My general advice is to always get some form of exercise,” he said. “It’s so important to get your body moving.”