Hot yoga, other E-fit activities offer opportunity to relieve stress while establishing healthy habits, burning calories

Kelly Bergh November 12, 2014 0

E-fit, the overwhelmingly popular fitness series offered in partnership by the Office of Student Activities (OSA) and the Elizabethtown Fitness Club, hosted its very first hot yoga class on Saturday, Nov. 8 at the Half Moon Yoga Studio in Hershey.

The first 20 students to sign up for the free class last week were driven to the studio in three shuttles, hauling with them yoga mats and lots of water. The class was open to all levels, challenging beginners and offering new poses to experienced students. “You do what level you can,” OSA employee and junior Lauren Fredericks said.

Just as the name suggests, hot yoga is Bikram yoga held in a 105 degree room with 40 percent humidity. The 90-minute class combined 26 postures with meditation and breathing techniques. The increased temperature of the room paired with breathing awareness allows for increased muscle flexibility and oxygen intake and may also help to detoxify your body by flushing out toxins from your skin through your sweat.

Junior Liz Acampora, the student coordinator of E-fit, took a hot yoga class in her hometown over the summer and found that, despite the heat, it was very fun. “You sweat more than you thought you could,” she said, “but you feel great after.”

Every month, a specialty E-fit course is offered. So why hot yoga this November? “We’re trying to offer this as a way for students to de-stress at the semester’s end,” Acampora said.

Bonus classes are a fun way to try something new without the commitment. Upcoming extra classes promise to be equally as exciting as hot yoga. Soon to be offered are water aerobics and CrossFit PowerTrain.

E-fit currently offers several regularly scheduled classes each week. In my opinion, there’s a perfect variety with yoga, Zumba and an ab class. There’s an option for everybody on campus. Returning this year is the pound class, which is the ultimate stress-buster. Acampora said that it’s great for “releasing frustration — you get to pound on the ground with sticks!” The soreness the next day is an empowering reminder of how fun it can be. The rhythmic moves used in pound have quickly made it the most popular E-fit class this semester. “Students have taken a liking to it,” Acampora said.

Though I prefer to work out on my own, there’s a reason why E-fit is so popular on campus: so many students enjoy working out with friends in a more organized atmosphere. Sometimes all it takes is a friend to drag you along to one of the ab classes.

I asked a few of my peers what specialty classes they’d like to see offered in the next few months and everyone seemed to have a new, interesting idea: ballroom dancing, pilates, barre classes, 5k training, P90X, old-school 80s aerobics (neon legwarmers and leotards included) and the list goes on. I personally would love to see a BodyPUMP, Body Bar, kettlebell class or maybe even a ballet or gymnastics class for those of us with no experience or talent when it comes to dancing and coordination.

Expect to see a more official survey than my own from those in charge of E-fit soon. They’ll be asking for your opinions about the classes they offer and taking your thoughts into consideration when making fitness schedules in the future. As usual, every class will be free, fun and challenge your body.

In the meantime, I challenge each and every one of you to take advantage of E-fit and go to at least one class between now and the end of the semester. Instead of partaking in the ever-popular stress eating while cramming for finals, why not relax with some yoga? Make it your Thanksgiving resolution to Zumba off the calories. Give yourself six-pack abs as a holiday present. You owe it to yourself to get healthy and have fun and E-fit is offering you so many chances to do just that right here on campus.

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