Event Encourages Student Fitness

Fitness Discussion during Wintersession, Fong Auditorium
Steven A Soto

Fitness Discussion during Wintersession, Fong Auditorium

Personal trainer Kerry Antunes encouraged Harvard students to find time for exercise in their hectic schedules during a presentation on physical fitness Wednesday.

“What I try to suggest in the talk is that the gym isn’t so scary,” said Antunes, who works at Hemenway Gymnasium. “It can be realistic and it’s a way of life. If you start doing it now you won’t face a lot of things that a lot of older people are facing now like diabetes or high blood pressure or cholesterol.”

The talk, which was attended by a mix of College and graduate school students, is part of a larger effort by the University to promote consistent fitness and nutrition through a series of events run during Wintersession.

During Wednesday’s talk, Antunes advocated finding enjoyable and accessible exercise routines as well as being practical about what is doable given the many commitments of Harvard students.

“Being realistic,” Antunes said. “I think that the biggest thing is being realistic and knowing what you like and finding something you like.”

Antunes emphasized accountability in one’s exercise regime, encouraging students to find a workout buddy and use applications like myfitnesspal.com, a website and phone application that allows users to track their caloric intakes and workout schedules.

Despite the cold weather and hectic schedules, Harvard students still should strive to achieve the basic health and mental benefits of exercise laid out in the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for physical activity, Antunes said. The ACSM suggests 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five times a week.

Antunes tried to change the image of the gym as a scary place during her talk.

“You think people are staring at you but they’re not,” Antunes said. “They’re always staring at themselves.”

She outlined the multitude of exercise options offered by the University at low to no cost, such as fee-based personal training sessions and free group exercise classes.

Despite all the bells and whistles of Harvard recreation, Antunes recommended that one’s basic routine be based on the concept “keep it simple, stupid.” She described a sample total body workout that a student could ideally perform twice a week anywhere, from the gym to the dorm room.

Jonne K. Saleva ’16, who attended the event, said he was impressed by the many exercise opportunities discussed by Anunes and that he plans to try them out over the coming semester.

“I knew that there’s a lot of stuff going on at Harvard but I wanted to see it explicitly on a PowerPoint slide because I already work out [and] I just wanted to see the other opportunities that are available,” Saleva said. “I’ve read about this stuff before, but it’s always good to reiterate it.”

—Staff writer Cordelia F. Mendez can be reached at cordeliamendez@college.harvard.edu.

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