A common fear among college students is gaining the dreaded “freshman 15.” Although most students choose to sit back and pray for the best, some students are taking the initiative and participating in other activities to prevent gaining the extra pounds.
Ashley Dawson, freshman from Murray, took the initiative in high school to keep herself in shape and instantly fell in love with the exercise craze Zumba.
Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance-fitness class that incorporates international songs and dance movements into an extensive aerobic-cardio workout.
“Zumba is so effective because it’s fun,” Dawson said. “Most workouts are boring and monotonous, but Zumba is a party. You don’t even realize you’re working out. It keeps people coming back for more.”
Dawson fell so in love with Zumba that she felt compelled to become an instructor herself, so for her 18th birthday, her parents paid for her certification classes. Immediately after that she began working at the Wellness Center, all while she was still in high school.
Dawson, an exercise science major, feels that through doing and teaching Zumba her confidence level has skyrocketed.
“I gained so much confidence in myself,” she said. “I’m generally a shy person and I don’t talk to people unless they talk to me first, but when I’m dancing I forget all about that.”
Being able to find time to balance her schoolwork and workout commitments can be challenging, Dawson said. Sometimes she finds herself getting overwhelmed with how busy she is.
“If I’m stressed about time or school, that’s when I know I need to go to Zumba,” she said. “Zumba can cheer me up and I leave calm and collected.”
Some students may be afraid to get up and dance in front of other people, or even to get out and be active, but Dawson has a piece of advice for them: being embarrassed or nervous about what other people in the gym think is never an excuse not to go.
“Fitness is something you should be selfish about,” she said. “Make a fool out of yourself and be fearless because at least you are making yourself a better person.”
Story by Breanna Sill, Assistant Features Editor