Through a survey conducted in the class “Contemporary Society and Sports” taught by Professor Kim Mi-ye (Human Movement Studies), there were less then 10 percent of students who exercised regularly during the last six months. According to Porfessor Kim, the surprisingly low number of students exercising at Ewha is more striking when compared to the rate of 40 to 50 percent of university students trying to stay fit through exercises in the United States.
According to Professor Kim, Ewha students seem to be more interested in avoiding obesity and going on a diet rather than health itself. And when they do go on a diet, they try to lose weight through controlling what they eat rather than exercising. This may be easier and less time consuming since they do not have to spend extra time exercising or going through the pain of testing their stamina to the limits. However, those who take the challenge to become fit and healthy in midst of busy and tiring schedules are actually benefitting a lot more than they or others imagined.
1. Sports classes
The first way students can stay fit, become healthy and have fun at the same time is by enrolling in a sports class offered by the university. Ewha offers classes ranging from golf, badminton, squash, swimming, and aerobics to jazz dance, usually taught by professors from the Department of Health Science. Taking at least one sports class used to be a requirement for all Ewha students in the past, but with the change of that rule, only those who have special interest in these classes attend.
Han Eun-hae (International Studies, 3), who took Aerobics during her second semester, says that the class helped her stay physically and mentally healthy as a lively spirit was added into her campus life, which was starting to become rather stressful. The class gave her satisfaction as she felt that she was getting healthier every day and did exercises with a light and joyful mind, with the added bonus of being able to increase her university credits at the same time.
Another student, Shin Hae-rim (English Literature, 3) said that she took a tennis class because her seminar professor told her that tennis is a sport that helps one to socialize. Indeed, the class did allow her to make good friends through tennis playing. “There were only a few first graders when I took the class. Thus, through team playing and interacting with one another on the court, we naturally became close friends,” said Shin. She says that the walk to the tennis court is very arduous and that the walk is also exercise in itself, but the long walk to and from the court was when she could bond with other students, chatting after their exercise with rackets on their shoulders.
Such sports classes are a good chance for students to stay physically and mentally healthy, add credits and socialize. Bae Yu-jin (Political Science & Diplomacy, 4), who even took Sports Dance at Yonsei University recommended other Ewha students to take a sports course. “I had so much fun when I took Sport Dance class at Yonsei and Folk Dance at Ewha, that I am now taking Aerobic, Swimming, and Jazz Dance all at the same time this semester.”
Another way that students can manage their health through facilities provided by Ewha is through the Physical Training Center located at the Student Union Building. About five hundred students register each month to programs ranging from squash, yoga, golf, dance, and ballet to aerobics. The teachers for these programs are usually graduates of Ewha who have official certificates in the area of their sport specialty.
For students who cast doubts on whether the Physical Training Center is actually professional and reliable, Hwang Ji-sun, a staff member at the Physical Training Center, says, “As the high number of students that register shows, programs at the Physical Training Center help students to use their free hours wisely and allow them to stay in shape with coaching from professional teachers.”
For Ryu Ji-min (Special Education, 4), this is the second time that she is taking a course in the Physical Training Center. “I took Jazz Dance first and now I am taking ballet. I think the most appealing factor about this center at our school is its close proximity to our classes.”
Not only are these courses fairly inexpensive, costing 35,000 won per month for lessons two days a week and 45,000 won for lessons three days a week, but the atmosphere of the classes also attract students to keep on taking these courses. “If we learn dance or ballet, it is sometimes embarrassing to do the moves or show off our body to others. However, everyone here is from our school and we all seem to be similar. There is nothing to be ashamed of here,” said Ryu.
Suh Lois (Psychology, 4) especially recommended the programs at the center to freshmen. “I regret that I had not known about this center sooner. I advise the freshmen to take advantage of what the school offers and allocate time to take a sports course at the
3. Fitness Room
At the basement of the Physical Education Building, there is a fitness room that students can use from eight in the morning to eight at night for only 30,000 won per month. Kim Jung-min (Science Education, 2), who was doing muscle training, said that she tries to come to the fitness center every day after class so that she can lose weight. “There are hardly any men here, so it is very comfortable. Moreover, I can come here whenever I want if I want to exercise. I think these two factors are the biggest advantages of this fitness center, not to mention the cheap price.”
TV screens are attached to the treadmills in order to keep students occupied while doing their exercises. Professor John Preece (Chemistry) was also seen using the fitness center. “I remember going to the gym when I was in a university at the
Professor Kim advises students that steady exercise is important. As eating or sleeping too much is harmful, exercising steadily every day is more important than exercising roughly for one day and not exercising for a long time. “The concept of accumulation has recently been applied to exercise. In the past, it was believed that exercise was only effective if an exercise lasts over thirty minutes. However, research results showed that there was no difference from that and doing ten minute exercises three times seperately,” said Kim.
“Nevertheless, it is important to increase physical activity in addition to sports or exercising in order to stay healthy. That means walking distances that are not far, avoid riding the elevator when unnecessary and enjoying hobbies that require a lot of movement and physical activity,” added Kim.