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Forget New Year's resolutions, college students exercise for something else

Jason Bishoff, director of the Fredonia State College fitness center, says exercise can help students better weather finals week and the holidays. (Photo courtesy Fredonia State)

By Scott Scanlon – Refresh Editor

Jason Bishoff has only been director of the Fredonia State College fitness center since January, but he already senses one thing – college students are more committed to exercise longer into a new year than most folks who make New Year’s resolutions.

That’s what the head of the Blue Devils Fitness Center noticed earlier in the year after coming back home to the Southern Tier from a similar job at a community center outside Akron, Ohio.

“When I worked in a city fitness center, that was always the thing at the start of the year: the New Year’s resolution people are in there and the gym is full. But it kind of dies off after a week or two. Some people stick it out for maybe a month.

“But here, the college scene is a little different. ... Everybody’s training for spring break."

Bishoff, 28 and recently engaged, is a Dunkirk native glad to be back home after attending graduate school at Kent State and getting a job in Ohio. He is the subject of What are you eating? today in WNY Refresh.

Here are some of the answers to other questions I asked him.

How important is exercise during such a stressful time of year?

It is extremely important. Any exercise, in any form, is good for you. It can act as a stress-reliever. There’s several reasons for that: It pumps those endorphins, those feel-good neurotransmitters. It gives you a feeling of happiness, an overall sense of well-being. And of course when you’re exercising, it’s a release to forget about your day. I like to think of it as meditation in motion. You’re focused on your body’s movements. Even if you’re in a game, you’re focused on those strategies of winning the game, or techniques, so those worries about a test or exams or papers exit your brain at that time. Exercise helps improve your mood, and sleep. You can get sleep-deprived when you’re stressed. And exercise improves blood flow to your brain. You need that action when you’re thinking.

What’s the biggest piece of nutrition advice you give to students?

Eat regularly, that’s my biggest thing. ... You need portion controls but you need to eat throughout the day, four to six times, to keep your body going.

What’s the road map to helping students lose the “Freshman 15?”

I just joined a committee to increase wellness awareness throughout the college. We’re working on that. Among the questions we’re asking, ‘Do we want to start large group exercise?’ ‘Have orientation for the fitness center?’

Talk about the new fitness center, which is less than a year old.

We’ve got a 30-foot, double-sided rock wall, 18 treadmills, 10 cross-trainers, 25 ellipticals, five adaptive motion trainers, four recumbent bikes, four upright bikes, one upper body Rogometer, 25 Selectorized equipment weight machines, one Smith machine, eight adjustable benches, three abdominal benches, three heavy-duty power racks and over 6,500 pounds of free weights.

Is there a food you can’t resist?

A lot of people have that issue, and I don’t know how I was able to do this quite awhile ago. There are foods that everyone loves like pizza and wings, but I can actually turn it off. I can go a long, long time. I had some wings a couple weeks ago but I stopped eating them right before I moved to Ohio in ‘09, and think I went three years without eating them. It’s that on and off switch, and self-restraint.


Twitter: @BNrefresh

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About The Refresh Buffalo Blog

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon is an award-winning reporter and editor who has covered various topics in his quarter-century as a journalist in South Florida, Syracuse and Buffalo. He is aiming to pass along what he is learning these days about health, fitness, nutrition and family life.

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