Physical activity patterns during college are important influences on habitual physical activity during the full span of the adult life and, consequently, have significant implications for short- and long- term health outcomes.12 Despite the importance of physical activity on overall health, less than half of all NYU students engage in sufficient physical activity to meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.1 Research indicates that during the transition to college, exercise22 and fitness levels23 usually decrease and are unlikely to improve as students get older.24 Universities are uniquely positioned to implement a comprehensive strategy for increasing physical activity by addressing individual-level factors – such as time, motivation, or skill – and determinants beyond an individual’s control – such as social, economic, environmental factors.
This page is intended to be a resource containing suggestions for what you can do to increase NYU students’ participation in physical activity and exercise.
• Plan a health and wellness event that encourages peers and members of your organization to exercise. Events centered on physical activity can be a great way to motivate your peers to get excited about health-related activities and fitness.33,34 On a smaller-scale, incorporate games, activities, or icebreakers which require movement into events and meetings.
o Field Day – Students in New York have so many resources to take advantage of, such as NYC’s beautiful parks! Reserve a park space for a large group (not necessary for small groups) and ask your club members to bring jump ropes, hula hoops, kickballs, bubbles, rope for tug-o-war, and any other item that reminds them of their elementary school’s field day! End the day with a healthy picnic.
o Fitness Classes – Shape Up NYC offers free fitness classes every week at dozens of locations across the five boroughs. Shape Up NYC classes are taught by expert fitness instructors who know how to make fitness fun. Class offerings are varied and include aerobics, yoga, pilates and zumba. Get a group of friends or club members together to try out a new class a few times a month.
o Organize a walking tour of an NYC neighborhood or park, or sign your group up for the “Explore New York, Explore the World” program.
o Arrange a rock climbing event with students. Visit the Palladium Athletic Facility page more information about the rock wall.
• Volunteer! Many volunteer opportunities require physical activity. Bringing your peers to a park clean-up or pre-school will guarantee some healthy moving. Visit the Civic Engagement page or NYU Service for weekly volunteer opportunities.
• Enter your organization or group of friends to walk, race or dance for a cause.
o Relay for Life NYU – Participate as part of a team or on your own at Relay for Life at NYU. Even if you cannot donate much money, walk around the track and visit the various booths to support the American Cancer Society – and get some exercise!
o Host a Dance-a-thon – Autism Speaks outlines how to host your very own dance-a-thon. Collaborate with another organization to make this event a campus-wide success, or search online for upcoming Dance-a-thons in your area.
o TD Five Boro Bike Tour – Although most students are not trained to bike 40 miles, your organization can support this event by attending or training for your own club’s mini-five boro tour!
• Start a health and fitness mini-club within your organization to encourage regular exercise with friends. It’s much easier to exercise when you have friends to go with.
o AEPhit Club: Alpha Epsilon Phi created AEPhit Club last year to encourage members to exercise on a regular basis. Each week, a member of the club suggests a walk, run, fitness class, or boot camp she is interested in trying out. Once the week’s event is chosen, the leader plans a time and place to meet. This is a very casual way to incorporate fitness into your organization in a low-key but weekly way.
o Join a class together at Coles or Palladium.
• Host an information session about NYU’s Bike Share program to encourage student participation (and sign up yourself!!). The NYU Bike Share Program provides free short-term bicycle rentals to NYU students, faculty, and staff who attend a Bike Share safety training workshop and enroll in the program. You can check out a lightweight Biria cruiser bikes from one of several convenient locations on campus, and drop the bike off at any other open location the same day. It’s a great way to explore NYC with your group, while also getting exercise!