Independent Exercise


Photo used under SPLC guidelines.

Sophie Brissett, Editor in Chief

Physical movement does not have to be defined by money and teams. Many students believe that the only way to exercise is by being on an athletic team, which is in general a great opportunity for both community and athletic practice. However, sports teams or workout venues, like gyms, can easily become inaccessible for students with injuries, time constraints, or affordability barriers. Students facing these problems should not be discouraged, and should try to explore athletic areas besides what they are used to. Even the smallest physical movements can make a huge difference: students with heavy work loads or part time jobs can utilize simple exercises as ways to motivate themselves and clear their minds. 

There are many independent, cardiovascular sports that students can easily become engaged in. Running, for example, is a simple and accessible way for someone to get physical movement and exercise into their day. Charlottesville is a runner friendly town, and anyone interested in running could start with the flat trail such as River View park, by the Rivanna river, a two mile greenway that takes runners and walkers through gorgeous scenery. Fox Haven and the Ragged Mountain Reservoir are also great places for people to get out and enjoy, whether that be running or walking. 

Hiking, or long walks, are similar ways to get moving. Anyone can hike, as you can always travel at your own pace or go as short a distance as you like. Specifically in the summer, Ragged Mountain Reservoir, Humpback Rock, and O-Hill are great hiking trails that can challenge a person. Easier hikes available include the smaller loop of Ragged Mountain reservoir and black rock summit. For anyone who is incredibly time-crunched, a simple walk through your neighborhood or whatever is closest to you is also a great idea, no matter how insignificant it feels. 

Cycling, or biking, is another great way for students to get moving. Cycling can be easily integrated into daily life, especially if students live close enough to bike to their schools or jobs. Because Charlottesville is so bike friendly– with bike lanes, green ways, and short commuting distances in general– students can likely get to school in the same amount of time as they would have in a car. 

Apart from commuting, cycling can be an actual form of exercise for anyone who wants to devote time to it. There are many country roads and mountain trails that students can get to quickly from Charlottesville, with as short as ten to fifteen minutes drives. Cycling is a great way to get out and see more of Charlottesville and the surrounding area. With strength and muscle build up overtime, students can gain the skills to cycle large distances such as fifty to one hundred miles. Mr. Mace, CHS US history teacher, uses cycling as a way to clear his mind and feel in touch with himself both physically and mentally. He has been cycling since high school and recommends every person take it up. 

Bikes can be expensive, so for students looking for cheaper options, online shopping venues like ebay or even Charlottesville Community Bikes are good options for a cheap or second hand bike.

Don’t be discouraged by a crazy schedule, an injury, or getting rejected from a team! There are so many more options that students can put as much or as little time into, and can become skilled in, that are both accessible and affordable. If you face one of these barriers you should consider running, walking, hiking, or cycling! Even just ten minutes of physical movement a day can make a huge difference on your mood, productivity, and long term mental health.