Five fitness-minded friends from the Class of 2018 talk about how working out became part of their Winsor routine. Together, they share their perspective on the benefits of lifelong fitness.
"I hope that fitness will always be integral in my life," says Daphnee Piou '18. "To me, working out is a way to become stronger not only physically but also mentally. It allows me to push myself to new limits and discover new strengths everyday."
If you walked by the fitness center on any given day this spring, you'd likely have seen Daphnee and a crew of senior friends taking advantage of the state-of-the-art workout facilities in the O'Donnell Center for Athletics and Wellness.
Their steady commitment continually impressed Sherren Granese, director of athletics. Whenever she stopped to talk to them, they'd tell her about a long list of positive benefits, from more energy to a heightened ability to focus.
Simran Khanna '18 says, "Staying active is simply a habit for me by now." She remembers her parents instilling that value even as a preschooler. As a junior and senior, "working out during my free periods or after school gave me a break from the academic intensity of the day and allowed me to mentally reset before returning to class or starting my homework."
"At first, my friends here were my biggest motivation," admits Unique Hodge '18. "As I started getting into a routine, I began to enjoy how working out would break up my day. It felt much better to spend my frees being active."
Since Kym Morris '18 "made the choice to become healthier,...I've never been happier," she says. "I love seeing the progress I've made since last year; that's another motivator."
Looking ahead, "fitness will continue to help me with time management," she expects. "I also want it to be my safe space when I go to college; it's something I can always go to no matter what's going on. It helps me release stress while at the same time it builds my confidence and happiness."
"Working out makes me feel strong and empowered," adds Grace Hamblett '18. "With a social media driven society, it is so easy to get sucked into the idea that your body has to look one specific way: stick thin. I have found that the more I work out, the more I embrace the body I was given. I get so excited when I can do one more pull up or squat with a heavier weight. This feeling of accomplishment and pride for my body and strength is what ultimately drives me to continue to workout and improve my fitness."
For Daphnee, "Aside from the obvious health benefits of exercising, my main motivation to work out consistently has been the way it makes me feel afterwards."
"One of my favorite parts of Lower School was having P.E. class three times a week," she remembers. "I've always loved the feeling of getting up and being active during the school day. Now, as an Upper Schooler, I find working out in the gym to be the perfect substitute."
After a workout, "I always feel refreshed and ready to move on with my day with a new focus, and I often find myself to be far more productive."
Grace builds on Daphnee's point, noting how "exercise has always been a major stress reliever for me. I am able to completely free my mind of all stressors and just sweat it out. I always start my day off with a workout because the high I get from it transcends the gym and sets me up to have a very productive day."
Beyond those benefits, "it's fun!" adds Daphnee. To keep it fun, she always looks for new and different exercises to switch up her workout routine.
While college is in their immediate future, the five friends share a hope that exercise will continue to play a role in their lives "long beyond Winsor."