September 25, 2014

O-Issue 2014: Functional Fitness

In Parks and Recreation, Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle set aside one day of the year called Treat Yo Self. It’s what it sounds like: Treat yourself to everything—clothes, treat yo self; fragrances, treat yo self; massages, treat yo self; mimosas, treat yo self; fine leather goods, treat yo self.

Here at UChicago, you can treat yo self any day of the year. Campus abounds with wellness and alternative health initiatives to help you manage stress and feel good while getting a workout. Of course, there are intramural sports and club teams, but for those who prefer to get their exercise in more creative ways, UChicago is the place to be.

For those who are into yoga, you have options on and around campus. Ratner Athletics Center holds drop-in and registered classes every quarter. Or if you’re looking for a nicer view, consider showing up for restorative yoga in Rockefeller Chapel, which is held twice a week in the early evening. The class is aimed at relaxing you, and Meredith Haggerty, who leads the program, will often give you a few dabs of essential oil at the end of the class to soothe your stressed-out soul. Yoga addicts who want their daily fix can consider CorePower Yoga on East 53rd Street and South Lake Park Avenue, where a membership will give you access to hot yoga classes. Your sweat will probably freeze on the long trek back to campus, but hey, isn’t that something you’ve always wanted to experience?

Closer to campus, you’ll find that Ratner runs two fitness programs. FitChicago offers commitment-free, drop-in classes that are open to everyone in the community. Classes range from cardio kickboxing to zumba and 15-minute ab workouts. Phoenix Fitness requires registration at the beginning of each quarter and provides a more structured routine for those who need the motivation. These classes generally provide instruction for activities that require more specialized skills, like ballroom dancing and golf.

If making friends is your prerogative, several RSOs also provide alternatives to the traditional workout. To get out of Hyde Park or even the Midwest, join the Outdoor Adventure Club, which holds outings to go kayaking, rock climbing, backpacking, slacklining, camping, and beyond. In the past, the OAC has gone kayaking on the Chicago River and taken weeklong backpacking trips during spring break. If its activities do not fit your schedule, you can also rent camping gear from the group for a small fee and go on your own time.

Le Vorris & Vox Circus is an RSO that will teach you everything from unicycling and stilts walking to aerials and acrobatics. It meets three times a week and puts on shows and workshops open to the public.

Or perhaps you’re looking to impart wellness on the masses. Stressbusters is a program that trains students in proper massaging technique and deploys them to relax the muscles of the masses on Wednesdays in the Reynolds Club. The athletics department also offers a CPR/AED/first aid class through its Phoenix Fitness program to certify students.

The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that when the intellectual life inevitably gets tough, there are many ways to get out of it. So I’ve got three words for you: Treat. Yo. Self.