‘Fall’ing into a healthier you

Erin Elfeldt

One step at a time the Quinnipiac University Fitness Center is deciding to become actively involved in providing incentives for students who pledge to adopt healthier lifestyles during October’s nationwide Health Awareness month.

“We just want to show people how small the changes can be, and how easy they are to incorporate into a daily routine,” said Heather Lodini, Graduate Assistant for Recreation.

This year, Quinnipiac decided to actively participate in the health month by bringing awareness closer to campus in a month long program titled “Walk-tober.”

“We have given students the prize incentives in the hope that they will want to do more daily habits related to diet and exercise that are beneficial to their health,” said Kathryn Dallimore, Graduate Assistant for Fitness and Wellness.

October was dubbed “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” 20 years ago in an effort to inform the public about the dangers of cancer and breast cancer, which is one of the most widespread diseases, affecting one in every three women. Preventative measures, however, such as changes in diet and exercise can help ward off such cancers.

Over the years, as the United States became more concerned with health issues and more aware of the power individuals have to improve health conditions, the month developed into more of an overall dedication to health awareness.

The month of October now serves to educate the public on a number of health issues and ways in which individuals can make personal improvements to their own health.

Since October is the beginning of a five-month-long stretch of holidays that provide plenty of temptation to overeat, staff at the Fitness Center say it is important to achieve good healthy eating habits now.

On a national level, medical leaders developed methods for individuals to enjoy the holiday months, while preventing overeating on some of the major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentines Day.

Two Quinnipiac graduate students are providing the campus community with some ideas of their own.

During the month of October Lodini and Dallimore are sending mass e-mails out to the Quinnipiac community, suggesting fun and creative ideas that can help students become more physically active and eat healthier. Some ideas for physical activity this past week included raking leaves with a friend or neighbor, picking apples at a local apple orchard and trying to squeeze working out into busy schedules.

For healthier eating, the newsletter suggests substituting skim milk with whole milk, and lemon instead of butter to add flavor to vegetable dishes.

The program calls for participating students to submit weekly records of steps taken towards a healthier lifestyle.

On Oct. 31, there will be a grand prize for the person who took the most ‘steps,’ as well as prizes for runner-ups. The Fitness Center staff will also be giving away T-shirts to participants.

Although it is already the third week of October, the girls encourage anyone who may still want to get involved to sign up in the Fitness Center as soon as possible, and are open to suggestions for similar health-promoting activities.

“Relative to the campus population, we have only seen very little participation, but as it often goes in the world, it is always better to start improving your health later than never,” Lodini said.

The month-long “Walk-tober” event will also feature a bake sale on Oct. 26. with all proceeds donated to the Breast Cancer Foundation.

The “Walk-tober” coordinators also plan to bring a farm stand to the student center from a local organic health farm before the end of the month.

“We hope giving access to fresh fruit and vegetables will help get people to start reaching for those rather than a bag of chips,” Dallimore said.