Tom Braslavsky: Exercising for a grade

Every Monday, after working for half the day, I grab lunch and then catch the Vern Express just in time to make it to my weekly 2 p.m. massage – in class. Not too shabby, right?

Massage is just one of the 90 classes offered each semester in the Exercise and Sports Activities department.

Some other options include Japanese swordsmanship, weight training and hiking. These one to two-credit classes are a great way to fill extra spaces in your schedule, learn useful skills and get some exercise.

Unluckily for me, I never took any exercise science classes until this semester, the spring of my third year at GW. Being two credit hours under the 17-credit semester limit, I decided to do something different and took massage and weight training. Now I make it to the gym at least twice a week to lift weights, and once a week to practice giving and getting a Swedish massage.

For those concerned about not getting to the gym often enough, EXSA classes make exercise mandatory. No longer can you make up excuses about being too busy to work out, and laziness will not let you push a planned gym trip back to tomorrow. The fact that you’re getting graded means that you have to go.

We’ve all heard of endorphins – the hormones that are released during exercise. Taking exercise classes kills two birds with one stone, by helping students maintain a healthy lifestyle while simultaneously improving their GPAs.

EXSA classes exist in order to give students positive experiences with exercise. In an interview with Alex Dickman, director of the exercise science program, Dickman wrote about the philosophy behind EXSA classes. She said they are meant to help students better function in society; develop motor skills and become physically active; tailor to students’ individual needs and preferences; and promote positive and healthy values.

To allow greater opportunities for participation, the department is also expanding the scope of these classes.

There’s nothing too objectionable about getting a massage every week, or about playing racquetball or pumping iron. So why not get a grade for it? Next time you see an open credit or two in your schedule that you’d like to fill, look into taking an exercise class. It may make your life as a GW student just a bit more manageable.

Tom Braslavsky, a senior majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.

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