Your health is everything

Bryan Lipiner

Too many college students neglect their health.

They believe they can eat fast food on a regular basis and spend little time being physically active.

These factors can contribute to health problems in the immediate future and later on in life. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends Americans get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week, which is a little more than 20 minutes a day.

Sure, college students are busy, but it isn’t difficult to find an extra 20 minutes a day for exercise, considering that many students waste time procrastinating on various activities. Personally, I exercise three times a week, anywhere from 60-90 minutes a session.

Not only does exercise improve your health, it also makes you happier. When one exercises, endorphins are released in the brain, according to WebMD. Endorphins then trigger a feeling of euphoria, which makes you happy.

But when exercise is put to the side, weight gain usually follows. According to an Auburn University study which followed 131 students over their four-year college careers, 70 percent of those surveyed gained weight, with the average weight gain being 12 pounds. The percentage of students found to be overweight also increased from 18 to 31 percent.

Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. Without a proper diet, it can be difficult to see the results of exercise. Eating too many foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium can damage one’s body. Most take-out and fast foods are high in said nutrients, which may cause problems such as heart disease or high blood pressure later in life.

Making smarter choices is easy. For example, college students can swap out white pasta and bread for whole grain products. Whole grain foods are higher in fiber and consist of complex carbs, which in turn provide the body with more energy.

In addition, students can opt for healthier, leaner foods such as chicken, which provide better alternatives when compared to high-saturated fat foods like red meat. Other easy choices include buying one percent milk over whole milk, and eating greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt.

Healthy eating  and exercising regularly is not as difficult as it seems. Making a few smarter choices here and there can go a long way. It isn’t necessary to cut take-out food for life, or go to the gym seven days a week. But it is important to be conscious of what you’re putting in your body on a regular basis and to stay active in some shape or form.