With so much going on, it’s easy to put your physical and mental health on the back burner.
In a typical week at UT, students tackle a stressful amount of schoolwork while also balancing jobs, internships and social lives. While managing stress takes many forms, exercise is one of the best ways for students to take care of themselves. Putting health first can de-stress students and give them a much needed burst of energy.
For students who are new to working out, UT’s TeXercise program offers a wide array of group exercise classes led by knowledgeable instructors. With options including various types of yoga, dance, cycling and water exercise, anyone can find a class they like.
However, students can only gain access to TeXercise classes if they purchase a $96 semester pass. Although cheaper than many gyms outside UT, it poses an obstacle to those struggling with the financial burdens of college. Making TeXercise classes financially accessible would encourage more students to take an active role in prioritizing their health.
“As a freshman, I definitely noticed the environment of group exercise is really uplifting and motivating,” said TeXercise instructor Kyarah Rogers. On top of the benefits of exercise in general, group classes offer a sense of community and encouragement that make students want to come back week after week.
Considering 86 percent of students reported not meeting the American Heart Association’s recommended 30 minutes of cardio at least five days a week, increasing access to TeXercise classes would inspire more people to make meaningful commitments to living a healthy lifestyle.
By making TeXercise available to a wider range of students, UT could take an important step in addressing the stress and inactivity that prevent students from achieving a better quality of life.
For the first week of each semester, TeXercise offers a Try Before You Buy period during which all group exercise classes are free. “That’s when the largest numbers of people come into classes,” Rogers said. Once the trial ends, UT requires students to purchase a pass to continue, and attendance drops significantly. High attendance rates during this free period exhibit a compelling degree of interest in TeXercise classes. Without as many financial barriers and the obstacle of having to buy a semester-long pass, more students would be able to take these beneficial classes when they need to.
According to Rogers, students who are thinking about trying out her classes often lose interest when she tells them that they must purchase a pass. She frequently notices the cost of the program preventing students from being able to take part. Even as an instructor, the cost seems prohibitive.
“I was ecstatic when I found out that, being an instructor, I didn’t have to pay $100 to (participate),” Rogers said.
Discovering a realistic way to integrate exercise into a chaotic schedule is a crucial part of staying healthy at UT. Since there is a degree of interest in TeXercise, and because it has the potential to ease the tension students frequently face, UT should remove the cost of semesterly participation so anyone seeking stress relief will have access to an outlet that promotes long-term health.
Waltz is a radio-television-film senior from Dripping Springs.