ENC and the South Shore YMCA have a yearly partnership that allows the Y to conduct their well-attended summer camps on the ENC campus, and in turn grant free YMCA membership to ENC undergraduates.

The Quincy YMCA’s brand-new $30 million facility is built in a modern style, boasting two indoor pools, a 30,000 square foot field-house that contains a turf soccer field, two basketball courts, and a large workout area on the second floor with an array of free weights, weight machines, treadmills, and other assorted cardio equipment. Above the soccer field and basketball courts is an indoor track with three lanes.

Located next to the weight machines is a studio containing stationary bikes; this studio is the place for those who enjoy spinning classes. There are also three group exercise studios, where students can take part in a variety of exercise classes that includes kickboxing, weight training, and yoga.

For those who need it, there is also a spacious childcare room. Located beside the childcare area is an activity room for older children, which contains everything from colored pencils to video games. There is also a small café area with a Honeydew Donuts shop that serves coffee, protein shakes, muffins, and sandwiches, among other things.

The YMCA is a great place to get in some exercise, and exercise has been scientifically proven to relieve stress. A mere 20 minutes of steady aerobic exercise causes the body to release endorphins, which are “feel good” hormones that are known to cause a sense of positivity. The release of endorphins as a result of exercise is referred to as a “runner’s high” and is helpful in combating stress and depression.

Stress can be something that college students are all too familiar with. Tight deadlines and lack of sleep can quickly cause stress, and feeling stressed can cause one to lose focus on school work. Regular exercise, even if it is for short periods of time, can fight stress and improve focus and creativity. Running a mile or two on the track or swimming a few laps in the pool are two ways that can be helpful in expending pent-up energy.

In order to use this great resource, however, students need to be aware of it. According to a survey conducted last week, ENC’s promotion has been quite effective. Nine out of ten students surveyed were aware of the possibility of a free membership, and eight out of those nine students had been to the Y, with a majority of those eight students attending the YMCA regularly.

Those surveyed who said they had attended were also asked what they liked to do when they were at the Y. One student replied that he spent most of his time on the basketball court. Three people said they liked to swim in one of the two pools, either to swim laps or to use it more recreationally. One student simply answered that he liked to exercise, utilizing the Y’s vast array of cardio and weight machines, and another student said he liked to run laps on the indoor track.

Monday through Friday ENC shuttles leave for the Y at the top of the hour, beginning at 4 p.m. and going until 9 p.m. These shuttles pick up students at the main gate, and it is only a short drive to the YMCA. Students can also catch a return shuttle, which leaves fifteen minutes past the hour, beginning at 4:15, and the last return shuttle leaves at 10 p.m. when the YMCA closes. On Saturday, the first shuttle departs from the main gate at 2 p.m., and shuttles run until 8 p.m. when the Y closes; shuttles also begin at 2 p.m. on Sundays and run until the YMCA closes at 6 p.m.

Every student should invest some time every week to visit the Y, whether it is to hit the weights, run on the track, go for a swim, or spend time in the field house. Since membership is free for students of ENC, there is almost no excuse not to go to the YMCA.