It’s no news to Keene State College students that each semester comes with its own collection of stressors. We’ve been back from break now for a month, and some of these days seem to drag on and on.

Have you heard of the winter blues? Some roll their eyes at this phrase, believing it to be a myth, but the winter blues affect one in four Americans around this time each year, according to That’s approximately 78 million people across the United States. Ramona Anderson, a counselor at the KSC Counseling Center, said a lot of people experience what she calls “the winter blahs.”

Anderson explained humans are designed to sleep when it gets dark and arise when the sun comes out.

“We fight this tradition in our culture,” Anderson said as she explained our bodies are forced to adjust to the changes in sunlight during the winter.

Anderson explained the symptoms generally associated with the winter blues.

“Students may find an increased need of sleep and an increased appetite, particularly a craving for carbohydrates and sweets,” Anderson continued. “A decrease in energy and mood is also just as common.”

If you find yourself falling into any of these categories, we’ve got you covered. Our solution? Drag your body to Spaulding Gymnasium ASAP.

Through the doors of Spaulding Gym, students find a weight room for strength training, a pool, a suspended indoor track, and 40 cardiovascular machines.

Spaulding Gym also offers a variety of 10 fitness classes— free of charge.

The most popular classes among students include Yoga-Pilates, Zumba, and cycling, according to Christine Miles, Bodyworks manager and group fitness coordinator. Exercise has proven to trigger endorphins, which boost your mood and give you energy—what better way to kick the winter blues than to enjoy a class at the gym?

Miles said exercise in the winter is huge.

“The chemical release of endorphins gets us feeling better,” Miles continued. “Exercise gives us a feeling of control—when you have control over some part of your life, you feel better.”

In an informal poll of 66 KSC students, 43 percent of students said they take advantage of Bodyworks’ classes, while 56 percent said they don’t.

Miles recommended the fitness classes as a way to de-stress. Miles commented although the classes do not charge, students are technically already paying for them through tuition.

Miles viewed these classes as a way for students to better their mental health as well as their physical health. Miles said, “There’s always stress and we can’t eliminate it. We need to find a way to control it and keep it in its place.”

Bodyworks Senior Fitness Specialist Maura Bergan suggested students sign up for a free equipment orientation from the Bodyworks staff to familiarize themselves with the machines.

“The staff is approachable,” Bergan said. “Go up to anybody and ask questions.”

Bergan also mentioned students can exercise with a personal trainer for $40 a semester or work with a Bodyworks staff member to design an individualized work-out program.

Bergan agreed with Miles and said students should attend classes at the gym.

“Classes help with motivation,” Bergan said.

Miles added, “When you work out, it doesn’t have to be for an hour. Even a 20 minute walk on the track with a friend, or outside if it’s nice, will be beneficial.”

With the “mild” winter we’ve had here in New Hampshire, getting outside for exercise is not as daunting a challenge as it has been in winter’s past.

The KSC recreational page on Spaulding Gym’s website provides four maps of trails ranging from one to three miles. There are also maintained cross country skiing trails, for whenever we do get snow.

Junior Leah Lopes, who studies physical education at KSC, said she works out approximately six days a week.

“Going to the gym is a way to de-stress.  Even just planning an hour everyday is good,” Lopes continued, “I like to do a mixture of things because doing the same workout everyday gets boring.” Lopes said she participates in many of KSC’s intramural sports.

There is still registration room for seven spring intramural teams—check them out at the recreational sports website. So don’t make walking to class your only form of exercise during the week.  Listen to your body, grab a friend, and take a class at the gym that will not only be fun, but beneficial to your health and help you beat the lurking winter blues.

Keep calm and carry on, Keene State.


Julie Conlon and Kim Borkowski can be reached at and



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