Healthy habits are hard to stick to for many people, especially those of us still in college. With limited choices of healthy eating, and not much help from university cafeterias, loaded class schedules and weekend drinking, it can be hard for students to avoid the “Freshman 15”. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are many things that college students, and anyone else that’s struggling with their health, can do to curb their decline in fitness.
The University of Dayton has many clubs and activities that students can take advantage of in order to stay active and in shape. “It’s easy to get caught up in the drinking culture and realize you’ve wasted a whole day playing outside and eating nothing but 12 wings for an entire day,” said UD sophomore Seetha Sankaranarayan. Organized clubs like Triathlon Club and the rowing team can provide workouts and direction for some students. I am president of Flyer Marathoners, a running club, and our goal is to get students to be able to run a half marathon at some point. This can be done with proper diet and exercise, all which can be achieved through our group runs or the wealth of advice our club members have.
Besides clubs, UD’s state-of-the-art recreational facility, the RecPlex, has fitness classes that can be taken. This includes anything from kick boxing to personal training. “Typically there are between three and eight participants (at least two in order to teach) in each class,” said UD fitness class instructor Sara Mrowzinski. Attending these classes can be a great way to get yourself motivated if you lack the self-motivation. The city of Dayton is also a great biking community, as headlined by this article, and provides some great routes.
Although I may be a little biased, running, along with a healthy diet, seems to be one of the best ways to shed pounds and stay healthy. Even though it may be hard to start off, once you get yourself going you may find yourself actually enjoying it. Setting goals for yourself is key for running or any workout plan. A goal like “run 5 miles this week”, or “sign up for a 5k race” is a simple idea that can help you stay motivated. I am a definite example of this as I started running during the summer after my freshman year at UD (2008). Since then I have lost 25 pounds and hope to never look back at what I used to be. Setting goals around your work or school schedule is something that will help you not only in health, but also in time management. On Friday June 11, there will be a 5k in downtown Dayton. For more information on that you can read over the race details. For a list of 5k’s in your area click here.
The biggest dilemma on the weekend is what to wear when you go out to party, and not what you are actually doing to your body in the process. A typical night for some of UD’s biggest drinkers can yield more than 10 beers. That’s almost 1,000 calories, and that’s if you’re drinking light beer! Add this to late night food items like pizza and burgers and your body screams at you in the morning, along with a few added pounds of weight gain.
“I think if you make a strong enough effort it’s easy enough, but when work picks up staying healthy always falls by the wayside,” Sankaranarayan said. Although some of this may be okay in moderation, the elimination of exercise from a diet can lead to a terrible combination.
The main point here is in order to stay on track and not get sidelined from any unnecessary weight gain, you must take the initiative apply yourself. Don’t wait for your health to get out of control. Joining a running group, club sport, playing weekly intramural sports or even cutting out the soda in your diet can lead to a healthier lifestyle that you will never regret.