In her freshman year, Angie Peng ’14 could barely run a mile. Whenever she attempted to go for a long jog, she said, she would stop whenever she got too tired. But joining Harvard On The Move, a University-wide program that encourages group exercise, helped changed that. Earlier this year, with three years of HOTM participation under her belt, Peng was able to complete her first marathon.
“The only reason I have been able to [run] is because there have been people running with me who distract me from how far I have run or how tired I am,” Peng said. “It is very hard to become a distance runner on your own.”
Like Peng, many Harvard community members said that staying fit and living a healthy lifestyle is no easy feat. With several commitments and activities to juggle, students said, exercise often falls low the list of priorities.
“Harvard is a brand new environment, and there are a lot of other appealing extracurriculars that compete for one's time here,” said Craig Rodgers, who founded the Harvard College Marathon Challenge in 2005. “So what are the first things that we tend to give up? Sleep and exercise.”
With the launch of HOTM in January 2011, Harvard has enhanced its promotion of exercise and health among the Cambridge community through programs that seek to offer exercise opportunities with others and is particularly for those who are not necessarily top-level athletes.
Director of the Harvard University Center for Wellness and Health Jeanne Mahon, who oversees Harvard On The Move, said that beyond community building, organizers hope that these programs “create an opportunity for the Harvard community to get outside and be more active.”
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