OPINION: College students should not neglect physical activity

CN/ Steven Adamo

By Cher Antido

Exercise and fitness are often forgotten when students start college, but they shouldn’t neglect it. 

Fitness is more than just losing weight, it’s about mantaining a healthy body that stimulates the mind. 

Even for busy college students on a low budget, there are plenty of ways to include physical activity in their routine.

Unlike in high school, many college students aren’t obligated to exercise as part of their daily routine. 

This is especially true because students are often too busy with academics and career plans to even think about it. 

A 2014 study by Northwestern University showed that over 60 percent of college students don’t get sufficient physical activity, which is moderate movement about 30 minutes a day for five days a week. 

Many students don’t realize how important it is to take care of their bodies during college. 

It’s one of the most important highlights of their lives, where they can start a path to their futures. 

Many students, however, put all their focus on academics and not enough on their well-beings. 

Research by Michigan State University in 2017 found that college students who get sufficient exercise have higher GPAs. 

A study by Johnson & Johnson Health and Wellness Solutions also showed positive effects for students who exercise. 

“Our study found that five-minute bouts of walking every hour had a positive impact on mood, fatigue and hunger at the end of the day,” Jennifer Turgiss, member of Johnson & Johnson, said during an interview with ThoughtCo.

Having a healthy diet is more than just eating the right types of food; it’s also ensuring that one’s body is getting enough exercise. 

East Los Angeles College student Jay Arcilla finds time to exercise even with two jobs and school. 

“I felt better after exercising. Not because I’m losing weight, it’s more about like I want to feel good about myself… I feel like everyone can make time for everything. If you don’t have the mindset of doing it, what’s the point of starting it?” he said.

Students often say they just can’t find time for the gym or they don’t want to spend the extra money on a membership, but there are other ways to exercise with little time and low budget. Students can take advantage of the stairs on campus. 

Elevators are all over ELAC and certainly  make things easier, but it doesn’t take much more time to go up the stairs rather than take an elevator. 

Students have to wait for the elevator to reach their floor, and sometimes it doesn’t go up to their designated destination right away. 

Saying the stairs take too much time is simply an excuse to not be active. Some may argue that stairs take too much energy if their classes are on the third floor or higher. 

A trick to walking up the stairs is keeping their backs straight and walking with a smooth pace. 

Students don’t have to run up the stairs to get their hearts pumping. 

The ELAC parking lots get full early in the day, and many students drive around just to find a spot closer to the exit. 

Instead of waiting around and wasting time doing so, they can park at a higher level where there’s plenty of space and walk more. 

Students can also make use of ELAC’s track. 

It’s open for them when there aren’t any events. 

If needed, they can also read for a class or study from their notes while walking around. 

For those who have the money to pay for a gym membership, there’s a 24-hour gym at The Atlantic Times Square, less than a 10 minute drive from ELAC. 

Of course, sleep is also important, so it’s not recommended to sacrifice sleep for exercising. 

Even when jogging on a treadmill, students can open their textbooks and read while doing so. 

Students can also invest in dumbbells and yoga mats for a home workout. 

If one of their assignments includes watching a video or listening to a podcast, they can do simple exercises while getting work done. 

It doesn’t have to be a vigorous workout. Sit-ups and stretching exercises will be more helpful than just sitting in front of a screen. 

This also works if they’re watching movies at home or listening to music. 

Even taking their dog out for a walk counts. 

If students feel that they become too tired after school or after work to exercise. 

Students can do a quick run in the mornings to pump up their days and have time for friends and relaxation during the night. 

Many students associate exercise with going to the gym and find themselves less motivated. 

But there are plenty of other ways to add some physical activity to their routine; students just have to look for it. 

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