The Freshman 15 is real…. And so is the Loyola 20. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you- New Orleans has some of the best food in the south. Crawfish, gumbo, po boys, red beans and rice, fried catfish, shrimp etouffee; the list goes on and on with delicious and (slightly) unhealthy options that you simply don’t want to miss out on. I feel like every time I turn around, some on campus organization is offering free food. Not to mention the buffet-style dining in the OR and Bruff! There’s food everywhere, and who can blame you for wanting to indulge?

One of the most important things you’ll learn in college is the ability to balance. For every opportunity to eat, there’s a chance to get active. Being physically active is an extremely important part of a healthy lifestyle, something that Loyola tries extremely hard to promote on campus. Loyola students have a lot of options to get moving. We are located right across from Audubon Park. If you haven’t taken a stroll around the 1.8-mile loop, you’re missing out. The park is filled with walkers, runners, bikers, rollerbladers, Frisbee and football players, as well as sunbathers when the weather is nice (which, thank god, it almost always is). The paved track takes you past a golf course, exercise circuits, a pond with duck who love being fed, and beautiful trees that keep you covered for much of the way. There’s even some artwork!

If you’re a runner, like me, you might be looking for a little bit longer of a route. Have you ever run down the streetcar tracks? St. Charles has some of the most beautiful houses in New Orleans and there’s nothing like great architecture to distract you from a long run. Last October I ran the Chicago Marathon and I did the majority of my training on the neutral ground. Running down St. Charles takes you through uptown, the garden district, and all the way down to Canal St., where the French Quarter starts. Downtown and back is a 10-mile run, a little bit daunting, but the scenic route takes away from the length of the route.

Maybe the best option for students at Loyola is going to the RecPlex located right on campus. There’s a weight room, lots of cardio machines, a pool with lanes, and tons of group fitness classes. My favorites classes to attend are Kickboxing and Zumba, both offered three times a week. These classes are extremely popular so you better get there early to get a good spot in the aerobics room! The instructors are friendly, the music is upbeat, and you’ll get a great workout while having fun. I bring friends with me every week so we can laugh at each other while we muddle through kickboxing combinations and Zumba butt-shaking moves. Click here for a link to the RecPlex website with a full schedule of group fitness classes!

These are just three options, but the list of activities goes on. Rock and Bowl on the corner of Carrolton and Claiborne is a creative way to get your heart rate up, or you could get a group together and karaoke at Little Tokyo on Maple and Carrollton. There’s a rock climbing place in Slidell and an ice rink in Baton Rouge, so you could even take a little road trip. Or just take a walk around the French Quarter! Get out in the city, get active on campus, get moving. Experience New Orleans! You won’t regret it.

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