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Squats with the Squad: A reflection on how workout activities with friends eases gymtimidation.

Getting motivated to work out is difficult. For twenty-two years, I rarely worked out. On occasion, I would go for a walk around my neighborhood, but I never knew how to properly
work out. I finally got the courage to go to the gym this semester, and I still found myself anxious and uncomfortable in the large and intimidating facilities. I realized that working out alone at the gym is not for me, and that group workouts work better for me. Group workouts come in many shapes and sizes, and I have found that they tend to be more supportive and less anxiety-inducing.

One of my favorite ways to work out in groups is (believe it or not) through FaceTime. With the risk of catching or spreading the coronavirus still in play, my best friend and I began doing YouTube workouts together over FaceTime. Doing workouts
over FaceTime with family and friends, one can stay in the safety of their own home (or in the case of Eastern’s students, dorm room) while still gaining the emotional support of a group setting. Each person in the group can choose their own personalized workout, or the group can do the same workout. Either way, it harbors a sense of COVID-safe community while still building strength and getting fitness into one’s daily
routine.

The second (and more conventional) way to do an easy group workout is to go on a hike. The communities surrounding Eastern are not only safe but aesthetically pleasing as well. Taking a walk around the neighborhood is not only a great physical workout but a great way to reduce anxiety as well.
Walking through the neighborhood while taking in the fresh air and talking about life is one of my favorite ways to spend a weekend. If you’re someone who is on campus without a car, it is a short twenty-minute walk to downtown Wayne, where one can grab some yummy treats or a healthy snack like a fresh fruit smoothie bowl at the Playa Bowls on Lancaster Ave.

No matter what way you choose to exercise, remember that you need to be comfortable and feel safe in the spaces where you are working out. Going on a fitness journey can be hard and tedious to achieve your goals, but you’ll get there eventually.

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