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Physical Wellness

What is physical wellness?

  • A balance of physical activity and nutrition that allows you to keep your body functioning at it’s best

What are the benefits of physical activity?

  • Prevents heart disease (#1 killer in the US) and stroke (#5 killer in the US)
  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Physical activity is known to improve mood, boost confidence, and improve self esteem
  • Physicians who exercise regularly are more likely to counsel their patients about physical activity
  • Regular physical activity has numerous positive benefits in terms of physical and mental health as well as on chronic illnesses, and can result in a higher quality of life

How much physical activity should you get in a day?

  • 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise
  • 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise
  • Or a combination of both!
  • An easy goal to remember: 30 minutes a day, five times a week!

Ways to get physically active in and around UMass

  • Join the Albert Sherman Center gym for FREE as a student and take a group fitness class for free!
    • Total Body Barre with Caitlin is popular with med students, Group Cycle with Nili is taught by a med student, and Total Body Burn is a great mid-day class on Friday if you can make it!
    • Try a Specialty Clinic @ the ASC gym such as: bootcamp, rowing clinic, defense skills clinic, and moving more in your work day! (cost: free - $65)

  • November Project is a FREE FITNESS group that meets at Holy Cross to take on the stadium steps on Wednesday mornings and is full of UMass Chan Students!

  • Find a pick-up soccer game with the UMass community!

  • Sneakerama has a weekly evening fun run steps from the UMass campus (and the first time you get a FREE t-shirt!).

  • Join the UMass running club and work up a sweat with other awesome UMass students!

  • Walk or run down to Lake Park for some beautiful scenery of Lake Quinsig and a taste of fresh air. Bring a tennis racket and practice your backhand!

  • Practice with WooTown Volleyball and their many pick-up games (though these cost $)  or join fellow UMass-ers for free on the beautiful sand courts behind the medical school!

  • Take a bike ride -- the Nashua Rail trail offers 12 straight miles of nearly traffic-free biking with beautiful opportunities for fall foliage.

  • Moore State Park in Paxton is a 730 acre area with easy trails, rivers, and a beautiful waterfall to check out only 20 min or so from Worcester.

  • Join a hiking group or email Jerry Durbin ( to get on his list! He is a pediatrician at UMass who loves organizing weekend hikes, some far away and some right here around Worcester! Residents, students, and attendings alike love to join Jerry for some true UMass quality time in the outdoors.

  • Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences students have organized a hiking group with everything from trips to Mt. Greylock and winter hiking workshops! Email Claudine ( to get on the list.

  • Try rock climbing at the Central Rock Gym which also offers free yoga classes with a membership! UMass students find this to be a great way to relax!

  • Paddle, row, or try stand up paddle board yoga at Regatta Point on Lake Quinsig!

  • Take a yoga class from one of the many yoga studios in Worcester! MetroWest Yoga offers a 30 day membership for students for $30. They have tons of HOT yoga classes, and a few without the heat.

  • Check out Crossfit of Centermass for some awesome workouts.

  • Check out Tower Hill Botanical Garden for a fun place to walk around and see beautiful gardens!

  • Wachusett Mountain - try a student season pass for skiing/snowboarding in the winter for $199 or hike around in the warmer weather.

Ways to do physical activity from home

  • Try a yoga routine on youtube like “Yoga with Adriene” (try the Power Yoga video for a great workout!)

  • PopSugar has a ton of fun workouts organized into categories such as beginner, 15 minute, and 30 minute workouts! (try 10-minute barre abs for a killer ab workout)

  • Couch to 5k is a an app for $2.99 that will get you running a 5K in no time!

Tips on Getting Started

  • Find a workout buddy to start working out with you!
  • Take it slow at first!
  • Set goals you know you can accomplish!
  • Keep a journal to mark your accomplishments!

Healthy Eating

  • Have a healthy diet - aim for 5 fruits and veggies a day, lots of different colors of foods, a variety of different food groups, and no sugary drinks like soda or juice!

  • Take the “Cooking for the every day eater” optional enrichment elective to learn how to cook new foods and learn about nutrition.

  • In your fourth year, enroll in the Leadership elective and participate in the cooking class.

  • Get to the grocery store and try some new recipes - we have so many places in Worcester to check out! Stop and Shop, Trader Joe’s (awesome recipes here), and Whole Foods (opening January 2018!) are right across the bridge. Price Chopper and Wegman’s are a short drive down Route 9.

  • Download an app like LoseIt! To see how many calories you’re eating each day and what percentages of carbs, fat, and protein you are getting. Many apps are easy to use with barcode scanning of foods to get nutritional information.

  • Reflect on the foods you’re eating after writing in a food diary for several days and see what changes you can make for a healthier diet.

Other Healthy Habits for Physical Wellness

  • Get plenty of sleep! Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

  • If you smoke, reach out for help quitting: 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

  • Limit your alcohol intake, and reach out to student counseling services (free and located in the library) if you need help with alcohol or other drug addictions.

  • Get a physical exam yearly → many medical students qualify for MassHealth (apply here) and currently MassHealth will pay for the UMass Chan Student Blue Cross plan through the SHIP program (info here)

  • You can see a UMass Chan family medicine doc who isn’t involved in any teaching or grading roles for a physical exam. Student confidentiality is a top priority, so be assured your PHI will be protected!