Making exercise a priority in college sets habits for a healthy future

Students can gear up for life after college by putting their health first

If there’s one thing I dread more than anything, it’s running. Three minutes down a track and I’m out of breath and calling it a day. Despite my inclinations to avoid physical activity, this summer, I’ve discovered other forms of exercise that have changed my outlook and have left me with a positive and energetic feeling.

Working out over the summer has led me to discover that consistent exercise and good habits pave the way to a healthier lifestyle after college.

Experimenting with healthy activities has led me to start working out every day, something I never thought I would do, let alone want. It seems that working out has become a habit for me, and I am constantly finding new ways to switch up what I do to stay motivated.

International Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB) Pro and ASU alumna Felicia Romero said exercise is about making it a habit, as easy as brushing one's teeth. 

“A lot of people look at exercise as a means to an end and it really shouldn’t be that way," romero said. "Exercise is a lifestyle and should be treated as such."

Getting in the habit of healthy living has motivated me to keep up my progress and see where it takes me. I’ve grown up in a family where fitness is a main factor of everyday life. Seeing how healthy and productive my family is, inspires me to continue my own fitness goals.

Although I am exercising every day, I didn’t notice much of a change in my body or energy until I changed what I ate. Not eating out as often not only made my wallet happy, but it also helped me start seeing the results that I wanted.

“Eating healthy and being balanced in that sense is super important because it’s kind of like your car," Romero said. "In order for it to run well you’re not going to put in bad oil. So same thing with your body, in order for it to run well you’re not going to want to eat junk all the time.”

When I used to think of healthy food I imagined bland food that wouldn’t have any taste, and I would have to force myself to eat it. Now, I’ve realized that eating better means I can still eat super delicious food. All I do now is just watch my portion sizes and don’t go overboard on the sugar and fried food. Everyone’s body is different, and the changes in diet mostly depends on what the ultimate goal is.

Another concern prevalent with working out is staying on track. Everyone gets discouraged sometimes and may need a little mental and physical break. The important thing, however, is to never give up. Don’t stop because it’s hard because one day, whatever was incredibly hard is going to become the new easy.

“Fitness doesn’t have to be complicated, fitness is just being active each and every day a little bit,” Romero said.

Even on the days where I feel like garbage, I pull myself up and do one active thing. Doing that always makes me feel better than how I felt before I started. In order to keep myself motivated, I like to embark on short two-week challenges to mix things up and see my “before” and “after” pictures. Setting short-term goals makes it easier to stick to and stay on track to finish it out.

College is a time to start developing the habits we want to keep up during adulthood. Doing something great for yourself now allows young adults to find what they really like while they have more free time and less responsibilities. Although we may think there’s not enough time for all of our activities, there will be time to do whatever we determine is a priority. Exercising should be a priority for everyone and specifically college students, especially while we are young.

“I feel like college is an instrumental age because a lot of these kids are moving out on their own,” Romero said. “They’re young adults making these decisions on their own, so when we choose health and we choose fitness … you’re going to be so much more efficient in life.”

Getting exercise isn’t something we should be afraid of. It should be embraced and practiced as often as possible so that when we graduate from college and are out in the real world, we are still our best selves. 

Reach the columnist at or follow @thedominiquez on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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