Students relieve stress, workout during finals

Amanda Goodman

Daily Targum

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (U-WIRE) – In between cramming, stressing and procrastinating during the reading days before final exams, Rutgers students will have the chance to get their minds off of their finals at the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center on Busch campus. The Recreation Center offered – among other classes – a free exercise class at 5:15 p.m. yesterday. The class, called Punk Rope, is designed to be a fun and intensive 50-minute workout.

“The class is a mix between recess and boot camp,” said Tim Haft, creator and president of Punk Rope. “We want to bring the play back into exercise.”

Haft founded Punk Rope two and a half years ago at New York University and now has extended the program to 17 classes and five states.

“I love it for the college setting,” said Haft. “It is a great way to relieve stress, run around and be silly.”

In Haft’s classes there is a new theme to correspond with a holiday every week. Haft has had themed classes for Saint Patrick’s Day and Earth Day, among others. In one class – in honor of women – he played only punk music by female artists.

As inferred by the name, most of the exercises are done to punk music. Punk Rope is an interval styled workout combining both aerobic (i.e. jump roping) and anaerobic (i.e. sprints and relay races) exercises. In many of the exercises, participants are required to work with a group. This is a way in which Punk Rope builds a community within the class.

The class is best for improving agility, building bone density and burning calories. People of all fitness levels can take the class. The program has had participants as young as four and as old as 70.

Punk Rope was first introduced to Rutgers University this year. Dave DiFabio, who is the College Avenue Gym fitness coordinator and who taught the class yesterday, along with Haft, has been teaching the class every Tuesday and Thursday this semester.

“It is a great way to relieve some stress in the later afternoon,” DiFabio said.

In his classes, DiFabio does a combination of jump rope, relays, partner drills and drills from different sports. Within the 50 minutes of class, the class is actively working out for a total of 30 minutes.

Besides relieving the stress off of college students, Punk Rope has been active in serving their community. All of their jump ropes are bought from a company, which employs and trains people who are physically challenged. Punk Rope has donated through fundraising 500 jump ropes to nine different schools in the South Bronx, N.Y., raised money to support physical education in public schools, taught free classes and volunteered at health and fitness fairs.

“It is so important to be active,” Haft said. “No one should be denied this.”

They have also participated in “Relay for Life” and raised money for Hurricane Katrina and the South Asian tsunami relief.

“It is about giving back to the community,” Haft said. “I believe strongly that there does not have to be a separation between fitness and charity.”