By JANAY FITCHETT
As college students, we are constantly on the go. Many of us work and go to school full time and we have active social lives. The idea of health and fitness is often farthest from our minds when it should be at the top of the list. In college there is no physical fitness test requirement, nor is there a mandatory physical education class that we have to take. How many of us willingly schedule time to work out or go to the gym on a regular basis? Without this requirement many college students fall out of shape at a time when they need to be in the best physical shape possible.
Ty Ford, a certified fitness trainer who works in the fitness center, thinks that proper health and fitness is very important to a college student’s success. Ford says, “Practicing good health and fitness can benefit a college student whether he/she is studying, playing a sport, or succeeding in the classroom.”
Physical fitness has physical as well as mental benefits. One of the most obvious reasons to exercise regularly is to control weight. This is particularly good in battling the “Freshman 15.”
The Freshman 15 is a myth that freshman students pack on 15 pounds in the first semester of college. The excessive weight gain comes from the newfound stress and freedom that accompany college.
Studies show that students on average actually gain 3-10 lbs during the first 2 years of college with most of the weight gain occurring during the first semester of freshman year instead of 15. Gradual weight gain could establish a pattern of weight gain that could cause problems if it continued. Regularly exercising helps to combat that problem.
Ford has several tips to help students battle the Freshman 15. The first tip is time management. A recurring theme for first-time college students is newfound freedom. The key for preventing feeling overwhelmed by this newfound freedom is time management. Staying on top of your time helps you plan enough time to make a healthy snack and schedule time to work out.
College students are very busy and barely have the time to eat anything at all, let alone something healthy. For many the quickest and most convenient food to eat is fast food. Fast food is full of grease and fat and isn’t the healthiest option.
Ford also recommends healthy snacks in place of the chips and candy in vending machines. There are several healthy snack options to choose from. Fruit is one of the easiest things to have. You can snack on an apple or any type of fresh fruit.
Another healthy option is any kind of whole grains. Whole grains are good for weight maintenance and also lower the risk of many chronic diseases you may encounter later in life such as stroke and heart disease. Whole grain crackers are an easy, healthy snack option.
Snacks high in protein such as low-fat yogurts, cottage cheese, and especially Greek yogurt are good options as well.
The mental benefits of regular exercise include a better mood and an energy boost. When you exercise endorphins are released from your body. These endorphins are what put you in a better mood and provide you with the energy boost. A better mood means you’ll have a more positive day. The extra energy will allow you to have a more productive day.
If you don’t have the time to go to the gym there are a few simple exercises that you can do at home or in the midst of your travels. One of these exercises is a wall squat. Wall squats are very simple. To do a wall squat you have to lean against any wall and squat. This exercise works a little bit of every muscle group.
Another exercise is abdominal twists. This exercise strengthens your core and works your abs and obliques. To do this exercise you can use a broom handle or anything similar. You put the handle behind your head and twist.
Proper health and fitness is an important tool to have during college and the rest of your life. Not only does it help you look better, it helps you feel better as well. The main point Ford wants to stress is that it’s “very important to incorporate [health and fitness] into your lifestyle and not just for a season.”