How to Solve the Fitness Conundrum
Cartoonist Paul Terry once said, "Whenever I feel the need to exercise, I lie down until it goes away." Fitness is a word that I admire and detest equally. Being able to run five miles sounds fantastic. Training to run five miles is an evil, evil thing and whichever ancestor of human evolution thought running would be fun deserves to step on legos for the rest of their non-existence.
Yes, there are many other ways for an individual to get in shape besides running. But when I think of working out, I think about running.
I used to be good at it, but then college happened.
Suddenly, going for a run wasn't the fun thing to do. My life turned into Netflix marathons, parties, concerts, homework, classes and sleeping. Soon enough, the only running I did was to the dining hall because pizza.
We've all heard about the dreaded Freshman 15.
I'm kind of offended that no one talked about the Sophomore + 7 or the Junior "Jump until I fit into my trousers" and the Senior "Save energy and ride the elevator to the second floor."
We get consumed by life: work, school, relationships and money.
Money is the number one reason you'll find me curled up in bed and crying over a pint of Häagen-Dazs Coffee Almond Crunch ice cream (which is stupid because I had to spend money to buy the ice cream). My point is that we go to the gym less, but stress is higher than ever.
Fitness isn't about size or weight. It's about how you feel and how well your body is functioning. Stress affects how your body operates and without a healthy outlet, we can cause ourselves even more problems.
Going to the gym sounds like a big to-do, because we like to jump in head first for instant results. Unfortunately, fitness isn't a proponent of instant gratification. It takes both time and effort, but thirty minutes out of your day won't kill you. It might actually make your productivity and attitude better.
Mayo Clinic studies the correlation between exercise and energy. It has shown that people who work out for 30 minutes at least three times a week have more energy.
Something as simple as a morning walk helps. And being fit isn't just about being active; It's about eating healthy too.
The upside of college is pizza.
The downside of college is also pizza.
Universities make a killing on selling junk food and caffeine to over-worked students. We spend our time studying all night for an exam or working 40 hours a week and going to class. Who has the time for a full night of sleep and eating proper meals?
Not me, and most college students are caught in the grind.
I'm not going to pretend like it's possible to drop all of the junk food and eat healthy 24/7. I've tried and failed many times because it's not really a viable thing for many students. It's time consuming and also incredibly expensive.
However, you can change your diet to be better than it was before and add in some exercises. Here are some potential ways to do both:
- During a marathon homework session, stop between assignments and do 3 exercises. For example, 10 reps of sit ups, push ups and squats.
- Trade out two of those Starbucks lattes for black tea.
- Carry a water bottle around campus and drink at least three of them. It'll help curb cravings and keep you hydrated.
- If you want to eat a slice of pizza, eat a salad and a bowl of fruit along with it.
- Instead of eating boring iceberg salads, try a spinach salad with some of the almond slices, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar dressing. It'll give you fiber and protein with less fat and more flavor.
- Have only one serving of bread a day!
- Try the stir fry with lots of veggies and ask for the grilled chicken in dining halls.
- During those absurdly long breaks between classes, put on some music and take a random walk around campus.
- For every question you get wrong on a test or assignment, devote two minutes of cardio. You'll force yourself to study more, but until you get a grasp on the concepts, you also get to work out!
Reach the blogger at Stephanie.Tate@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @StephanieITA