Tag Archives: exercise

Don’t Worry Be Healthy: Five Ways to Make Working Out More Fun

-Marissa Tomko

Running on a treadmill reminds me of hamsters, running and running on their little hamster wheels, going no where, getting no closer to a destination. Talk about boring.

I don’t know about you, but my attention span on one of those mechanisms is about five minutes. I start getting antsy about my music, eyeing the clock, and redoing my ponytail fifty times in a row. I just can’t take the repetition!

Unlike a hamster though, I am able to break out of my cage and make a more exciting workout routine for myself. And with that in mind, I present to you my top five favorite ways to work out without being bored to tears!


Call me crazy, but this Latin-inspired workout is probably the best I’ve ever partaken in. Zumba is basically just a big dance party, and at the end of it, you’re sweating your face off and you can kiss the gym goodbye for the day! My personal favorite thing about Zumba is how it can turn even the most uncoordinated person into a superstar. All you have to do is check your inhibitions at the door, and I promise you’ll have the best, most fun workout of your life.


If you live in Eugene, you probably have some sort of affinity for the outdoors. Instead of a repetitive hour on the elliptical where you just awkwardly stare out the same window, why not take your talents outside so you can enjoy some ever-changing scenery and become one with nature?

Workout videos

Hear me out: I realize you would probably feel silly in your house or apartment taking orders from some random person on your television. However, it can actually be the best time of your life. Grab a few friends and pop in an amusing workout DVD. My personal favorite is Brazil Butt Lift. The guy on the video cracks me up, and even if I end up not working out for the whole time, I get some nice abs from laughing so hard.

Water fights

Pardon my theatrics, but these days it is so hot, I feel like I am super-glued to the sun and I can’t escape the heat. That makes going on a run pretty difficult because heat stroke is not something I am trying to get out of my workout. So I enjoy the occasional impromptu water fight complete with Super Soakers and water balloons! It entails a lot of running around, and you can finally cool down from the Eugene summer weather.


My roommate and I have big plans for the summer that involve buying overalls and rollerblading all over Eugene. This activity is a surprisingly good calorie burner, as well as a nice blast from the past! So strap on those wheels and get going!

Don't Worry Be Healthy: The 24/7 Calorie Burn

-Marissa Tomko

Squeak squeak. Squeak squeak. Squeak squeak. Rustle. Scratch. Squeak.

We’ve all sat next to that person in lecture who just can’t seem to stop moving. I mean seriously, is that straight espresso in your water bottle?

Or maybe, like me, you haven’t sat next to that person because you are that person. If that’s the case, then you know what it’s like to have someone slap your leg to stop you from shaking the whole table. And yes, that is straight espresso in my water bottle.

Being fidgety can be distracting for everyone involved. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing. In fact, us fidgeters all have something in common: we are way neater than everybody else!

NEAT, or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, is the energy used to perform tasks that are not identified as exercise. NEAT encompasses things like walking to class, taking in your groceries, chewing gum, doing yard work, and—surprise—fidgeting in your seat. Gold’s Gym estimates that the twitchy population can burn up to 350 calories in a day by moving around in their chairs at work or school. But don’t just count on sitting around to rack up your NEAT points. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, pacing while you are on the phone, or dancing while you dust your house will turn an average activity into the NEATest experience of your day!

I know this all sounds silly. If you’re thinking that you’re going to be leg shaking your way to a six pack, then okay, you are pretty silly. But avoiding idle days is so important to our health. A study done by the Institute for Medicine and Public Health published in Women’s Health showed that it’s normal to spend 56 hours a week sitting still at a desk or on your couch—thank you, Internet age. But as convenient as technology has made work and play, sitting for so long has some pretty scary effects: it slows down your circulation, and ups your risk for diabetes and heart disease. That’s enough to make me want to fidget more than usual!

Not everyone is hard-wired to rustle around nervously 24/7. In many respects, that is a lucky thing. You’ll never have to explain to people that no, you aren’t anxious about anything, you just can’t sit still for the life of you. If you are one of those people who naturally play it cool, try working in some movement to your daily idle activities. It’ll do your body good!

Image by Ludovic Bertron.

Don't Worry Be Healthy: Five Ways I Get Myself To Workout


-Marissa Tomko

I don’t really know how to admit this. I’ll just say it.

I haven’t been going to the gym as much this term. WOW, that feels amazing to get off my chest!

Yes, I feel like a complete hypocrite because I write this health and fitness column. And I love you all so much and I just don’t understand how it got to this point. Will you ever be able to forgive me?!

But I think this happens to everyone. We get into the habit of working out, and then decide to take just one innocent day off. This turns into a bunch of innocent days off, which turns into literally all days off, none of which are innocent. But never fear, Pulse readers! I have a plan of action. Even though it’s hard to get back into a workout routine, it is possible. Here is a list of the things I have done in the past (and am currently doing) to get my sorry butt into shape again.

I play mind games with myself

I once tried to date this guy, and I say “try” because we really sucked at being a couple—we could not get it together enough to map out a couple hours in the middle of our crazy lives to just exist in the same room. But sometimes, we’d map out fifteen minutes, which would always turn into a couple of hours. I can’t speak for him, but I always knew this would happen. I do the same thing when I go to the gym. I think, “I love you, treadmill, but I don’t have that much time for you.” And before I know it, I’ve been running for forty-five minutes because I realize how much more joy the treadmill brings me relative to the rest of my commitments. See? The gym is like dating: as long as you ignore the dishonesty, it can be fun!

Speaking of making time, I learned what it actually is

I’m a college student, so it’s super easy for me to use homework as an excuse to avoid the gym. But if I take a second to analyze what exactly happens when I do homework, I realize that it’s a bunch of B.S. and that I’m just a lazy weirdo because when I hit the books, I’m really hitting the books, the Internet, Netflix, my fridge, my roommates’ bedrooms, the convenience store I live next to . . . you get the picture. Basically, if I cut out all of the procrastinating I do when I’m trying to get my academic tasks done, it gives me an extra ninety minutes at least. That is more than enough time to make it to the gym. Why do I make my life so difficult?!

I got cool shoes

Yeah, I know it sounds really dumb. But I’m a big believer in dressing for success. If I’m having a bad day, I try to look nice. If I’m having a hyper day, I try to wear stretchy pants so I can high-kick at everything. If I am headed to work out, I put on the sick Nikes my dad got me for Christmas so I am forced to look like I belong. Fake it till you make it, right?

I make new playlists…

. . . like this one! And then I pretend I’m in a music video for all of the songs. Shut up, it works.

I become the poster child for inspiration

You might not know this, but I am big into confidence, so I don’t think comparing myself to other people is the way to get myself into shape. I know a lot of people practice “thinspiration,” which as I understand it is when you post pictures of impossible six-packs on your fridge to remind yourself of the body you want. To that, I say stop the madness! Don’t work out for someone else; work out for yourself. You will resent it less because it will turn into something you want to do for your own health, not for any other motive.

Aqua Zumba: The new workout craze

– Chelsea Fryhoff

When I heard that there was an Aqua Zumba class being offered through the UO PE and Recreation department I didn’t really know what to expect. In fact, I didn’t even know what Zumba was. I had only heard about this dance workout class kicking people’s butts into shape.

Curious, I went to check it out.

Walking into the pool area at the Rec Center I was immediately greeted by the fast paced beats and lyrics of a remixed version of “Calabria 2008.” It was then that I spotted Kelly Pavey, the Aqua Zumba instructor, bustin’ out some choreographed dance moves that went to the beats of the song blasting out of the overhead speakers. Below her was a group of 32 people of varying ages spinning and creating waves in the shallow end of the pool as they copied Pavey’s dance moves.

“[Zumba] classes use what we call the ‘zumba formula’ which links segments of a song to a particular movement, which allows participants to predict choreography unconsciously so that they enjoy themselves in class more and worry less about trying to follow the instructor,” said Pavey in an interview.

These classes have to use at least 70 percent Latin music in their mix tapes to be considered zumba, but most classes have started incorporating music from many different countries into their class routines, including music from France, Brazil, Spain, Russia, Africa, the U.S., and others.

“There is rarely any crossover of choreography between a land zumba class and an aqua zumba class. At its core, aqua zumba is an aquatic exercise class so it is designed as a resistance training class, but instead of stretching bands or lifting weight you are pushing water. Much of the choreography is based upon resistance and assistance,” explains Pavey.

Even though these people were participating in what seemed to be a pretty intense workout, they were all laughing, smiling and obviously enjoying themselves. With quick 30 second breaks between songs and encouragement from Pavey – the group remained enthusiastic until the end of the workout.

This hour long class, offered on Saturdays from 1 – 2pm through the UO PE and Rec punch card system, includes a warm-up, work out, and cool down all comprised of dancing with kicks, jumping, and of course a little rump shaking.

Aqua Zumba seems like the best route for a workout if you are a bit self-conscience about showing off your skills in a traditional dance class. All the moves are done underwater!

For more information about the “punch card system,” the Aqua Zumba class, and other classes that are offered, visit the UO Rec homepage.