The focus on fitness at Equinox is a key part of the students’ overall growth. Research has identified healthy nutrition and regular exercise as having a positive impact on both emotional well-being and brain functions such as attention, memory, focus, and concentration.
In addition, research also suggests regular cardiovascular and strength-training exercise can be as or even more effective than medical treatment of depression and anxiety. Simply put, when we feel good physically we feel better emotionally, and we think more clearly.
Having recognized the importance of these findings, we have intentionally included numerous activities and interventions into Equinox programming that focus on the improvement of the physical health of the boys we serve. Immediately after enrolling, our students begin working with a certified trainer. The trainer will work with them to develop personal physical fitness and nutrition goals. Students also earn PE credits for this time.
Students participate in high-intensity classes led by our fitness director 3 days a week at the gym on-campus. Other workouts may include team sports, like ultimate frisbee, basketball, soccer, or flag football. After dinner, students have the option of how to fill their free time–studying, doing something creative, or choosing something active and playing outside with peers.
Fitness & Recreation for More Engaged and Active Minds
Teenagers are Picky Eaters
Developing Healthy Body Images
Understanding the relationship between increased physical health and mental health, we offer substantial opportunities for our students to physically engage in active and exciting ways while receiving encouragement each step of the way.
Students engage in regular workouts and develop fitness goals aimed toward improving their cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility. Our boys participate in a variety of workouts including running, biking, strength training, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Yoga, and other methods of conditioning.
The resulting improvements in our students’ physical condition will have immeasurable effects on their mood, self-esteem, and sense of self-efficacy. Our intensive physical fitness programming sets us apart from other therapeutic schools.
This old adage feels stale in today’s age of eating, but it still shows up regularly with our students. Many students come to us practically addicted to diets high in sugar, sodium, and empty calories. They eat what is easy, what is “junky,” and eat it over and over again. A diet with these features can lead to significant swings in blood sugar, energy levels, and mood. At Equinox, students will have three hearty meals a day, and three high-protein snacks a day. Meals focus on lean protein, combined with a starch, green veggie, and a salad bar. It is our belief that consistent exposure to a healthy, diverse menu will have a lasting impact on our students’ sense of self-efficacy in managing how they feel and look, both physically and emotionally.
Historically, the concept of body image has been applied much more heavily to girls than boys.
However, in recent years, and likely due to images and ideas perpetuated by the media, our boys are struggling more and more with negative perceptions of how they are seen by others. To help combat this, we introduce our students to the concept of Intuitive Eating–an approach that teaches individuals how to create a healthy relationship between food, mind and body.
We believe this will help our boys become experts of their own body.
Exploration and Discovery on the Weekends
Western North Carolina is a magnificent natural playground that we utilize as our outdoor classroom.
Weekly recreation outings offer our students a great deal of fun, a chance to get away from campus, and a myriad of therapeutic opportunities in which new habits and skills can be practiced and applied in different environments. These off-campus adventure therapy excursions also include opportunities for service and volunteer work, which provide incomparable opportunities for our students to get outside of themselves and see the world from a new perspective.
Every quarter our students participate in an overnight camping trip, providing the opportunity to apply the outdoor skills they learn and to challenge the individual and team in a setting that may be outside their comfort zone.
To learn more about the off-campus experiences we engage in, visit our Adventure Therapy page.