Exercise is The New Medicine

by Josh Grewal & Megan LaCreta, Staff Writer & Asst. Features Editor

The Exercise is Medicine initiative at Manhattan College has kickstarted many new programs to encourage students to get physically active on campus. The events range from yoga and mixed martial arts to taekwondo and core training. 

With an emphasis on mental health, the initiative is focused on creating an environment for students to flourish. Students are able to receive personalized guidance in becoming a better version of themselves both physically and mentally. 

Professor of Kinesiology Jeff Cherubini, Ph.D, is a faculty advisor for the program. He explained why it is so important to encourage students to be physically active.

“The scientific evidence is clear and irrefutable, when we, all human beings, are physically active we are better off for it,” Cherubini said. “The fact is, we are all influenced biologically, subjectively and functionally, for example, how we perform at home, school and work, based on the amount of physical activity, or lack thereof, that we get.” 

Through the many programs offered under the umbrella of the Exercise is Medicine initiative, students are able to become confident in their daily physical activity. One program is the JasperFit Mentor program. Mentors are assigned to mentees in order to help guide students towards their fitness goals.

Programs like this are highly recommended for students who feel overwhelmed and require an outlet for their stress. By exercising the body, the mind also sharpens, as Cherubini explained. 

“The more physically active we are, the better we do in terms of learning, in terms 

of memory in terms of social [life],” Cherubini said. “There’s all different benefits of being physically active that we see would benefit academics. Whether it is your concentration in class, your energy for class, we know from a lot of research that being physically active, even ten, fifteen, twenty minutes will help you retain the information right after.”

Senior Megan Gillooley echoed the belief that physical activity can improve mental health. The exercise science major leads the Tuesday Boot Camp Workout program as part of Exercise is Medicine.

“Once you finish the workout you feel like you just accomplished something and are proud of yourself,” Gillooley wrote in an email to The Quadrangle. “Even on our worst days, just by getting up and going for a walk can turn the day around. It also can be looked at as a good way to relieve stress and get our minds off schoolwork or other stressors in life because physical activity is something that should be fun and enjoyable.”

Gillooley pointed out that college students in particular face high levels of stress from classes, and spend hours sitting in front of a computer screen, making stress-relieving exercise all the more important.

Senior management and global business studies major Cristina Valladares agreed, and expressed that she was glad the Exercise is Medicine program encourages students to take concrete steps to relieve their stress.

“I think that [college students] feel so stressed all the time that we feel like we don’t really have time [to exercise] when the reality could just be ten, thirty minutes of the day just taking time to stretch out and you feel significantly better,” Valladares said.

Valladares regularly attends the yoga classes run by her roommate Katie Heneghan. She explained how glad she was to have a program like this available to her at Manhattan College.

“I’m a person who gets very stressed very easily, and I feel like I’m constantly stressed and anytime I do any exercise, I feel significantly better and more productive afterward,” Valladares said.

The Exercise is Medicine program exists to help students like Valladares find the type of exercise that’s right for them. Cherubini urged all students to look into the program and start the path to physical and mental wellness.

“I encourage everyone to take a look at the events calendar,” Cherubini said. “Whether it be walking more, yoga, a group fitness class, or signing up for a Fitness Center orientation, we’d love to see everyone find something that interests them and look for ways to add a little more physical activity into their day.”

Note: Katie Heneghan is the web editor for The Quadrangle.