It’s much more likely for a student to have a favorite carrel in Widener than a preferred treadmill in the MAC. And though long waits in a sweat-filled cardio room are no longer an excuse to not exercise, most do not look beyond the familiar red-brick walls of the MAC. FM ventures out into the cold, bringing back the scoop on the tracks, pools, tennis courts and treadmills outside of 34 Holyoke.
The MAC is a multi-level haven for amateur fitness enthusiasts. Its two cardio rooms offer ellipticals, treadmills, Stairmasters, ergs, stationary bikes and a wonderfully voyeuristic view of the swimmers below. And for the iron-pumping crowd, a plethora of circuit weights and free weights fills the corners of the basement. Those who need group motivation should seek out the free recreational classes, which include strength training, yoga and spinning—a type of fast-paced biking that is the latest MAC sensation. And if you are less inclined to mount bikes and pump your legs for an hour straight, the volleyball and basketball courts on the top floor are an alternative.
If you prefer to keep your swimming habits out of the eyes of the cardio aficionados at the MAC, Blodgett is as good as it gets. No need to be an Olympian to enter, but if you are embarrassed about your swimming, just remember to avoid the swim team’s hours of practice. Thankfully, that’s not a difficult task—unless you plan on swimming before dawn.
Claverly Hall Climbing Wall
Harvard’s own pint-sized Mount Everest is located in the basement of Claverly Hall. Tackling this wall is definitely more exciting than monotonously running along the river and certainly safer than swimming in it. Also, no experience is necessary—the mats below will soften your fall.
Gordon Indoor Track and Tennis House
For those that not only want to run away from the river, there is Gordon. Although a veritable oven compared to the frigid outdoors, runners may find themselves dazed and confused to have completed only a mile after running eight laps around the track. There are other plusses as well—in lieu of the riverside’s knee-savaging, garbage-ridden paths, Gordon has a newly re-surfaced, knee-friendly spring track.
The door to Hemenway also leads to the past. The old equipment is perfectly complimented by the musty air, dim lighting and self-involved HLS students. Although pestering Law School students can be rather amusing, a walk to the MAC would be well worth it. However, for freshmen living in the Yard, Hemenway is a convienent alternative.
As some things go up, others come down. Danehy Park’s trajectory has been the exact opposite of Hemenway’s decline. Danehy, a former landfill, was recently reclaimed by the city and transformed. A run at Danehy is almost a double workout, especially for someone from a River House. Getting to this park north of the Quad is half the fun.