Technology and social media could help students fight the freshman fifteen

Tech-based programs and inspirational social media help students stay fit

The freshman fifteen, the dreaded idea that college freshman gain fifteen pounds during their first year living in a college dorm, is hard to combat with dinning halls and no parental guidance, but there are several tech-savvy tools students can use to stay in shape.  

According to a study done by the  American College Health Association in 2007, the average college student’s weight gain varies while living on campus. However, when compared to the average weight fluctuation the general public, the study titled "The Freshman 15: Is it Real?" found "freshman weight gain was 5.5 times greater than that experienced by the general population.”

Technology-based programs and encouraging social media campaigns available to ASU students have the potential to combat this trend, making fitness more accessible and engaging.

A technology-driven program available around the ASU campuses are Grid Bikes. The program allows people to rent a bike and ride around, whether it is from class to class or just for fun.

The bikes can be rented out using the corresponding app, which provides access to the bikes through a digital code. 

ASU students also enjoy the fact that ASU campuses are bike friendly. The University even holds the title as an official “Bike Friendly University” in partnership with The League of American Bicyclists.

“When you’re downtown, you don’t really need a bike to get to class because the campus is so small, I can say that I’ve used Uber less while I’m downtown, though, because now I can just bike to the grocery store, so that keeps me fit," said Frankie Mclister, freshman sports journalism major.

Mclister said the Tempe campus is better-suited for bike use.

“Tempe has a bike valet which is really nice, it’s definitely a much larger bike population over there, and riding a bike can get you across campus in ten minutes which really helps when you’re running late,” he said.

Free shuttles between ASU campuses give students the opportunity to transport their bikes campus to campus with compartments located on the side of the bus. 

“I take a yoga class in Tempe but I really like to ride my bike to class too, it’s so easy get on the shuttle and bring my bike and it’s really cheap,” said Melanie Gaxiola, a freshman journalism and mass communication major.

Though the SDFC on the Downtown Phoenix campus also has classes, Gaxiola prefers to take her yoga class in Tempe. Because she doesn't have a car, ASU transportation and public transportation make her fitness routine possible.

“Getting from campus to campus is pretty easy when I use the shuttle tracking system on the ASU website. It tells me when the next shuttle is coming, and the light rail and shuttle stops are literally a three minute walk from the dorms."

To keep students engaged with working out, ASU's fitness centers have a strong online presence across four social media platforms which include Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, keeping students informed about classes or special events going on in the four campus fitness centers.

“Specifically, on our Instagram story, we have a run-down of what’s going on at each campus every day," said Camrae McManaman, a staff member at the SDFC Downtown and sophomore majoring in exercise and wellness. "So if you’re downtown but you’re going to Tempe, you can find out what you can get involved with that day."


Reach the reporter at Taylor.Rivera@asu.edu or follow @RiveraTaylor21 on Twitter.

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