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Lack of exercise has students gaining more than education

By Kelly Jakubowski
On October 27, 2004

You're supposed to gain from the college experience. An education, friends and maturity are just a few of the things you probably expect to gain here at Sam. What about the things you may get without really looking for them? College is often a period when students are on their own for the first time and begin to form habits that will stick with them into adulthood.

Assistant Director for Wellness Tina DeAses addressed how important it is for students to get involved with fitness. "First of all, everyone's here to get an education," she said. "One of the best things you can do for your body, overall body, brain, and immune system is to stay physically active. Your immune system is stronger the more physically active you are, which will keep you from getting sick and keep you going to classes... The more you exercise, the more your blood flows, the more endorphins you create, the better your brain is going to be able to function. It will help with your creativity... it will help with the stress of being in school."

DeAses added that people who work out usually have better self-esteem. For students, this may translate into more willingness to ask questions or get involved in student study groups.

The HKC is here to help students, faculty and staff stay fit. It's about more than just looking good and the HKC offers a wide range of choices for people who are interested.

For people who prefer to work out in groups, there are classes and intramural sports. From step aerobics and cardio kickboxing to basketball, racquetball and volleyball, there are many group activities to help Bearkats stay in shape. Individual work outs are possible on the indoor track or the weight room. DeAses points out that a personal trainer usually costs about $50 per session anywhere else, but the most it will cost at SHSU is $7.50 per session.

Students usually lose the structured lifestyle they are accustomed to at home, where parents may make home-cooked, healthy meals more available. They may give up the sports they used to play in high school in favor of giving more priority to studying or socializing. All this translates to the greater possibility of gaining that Freshman 15.

"Nutrition makes up between 70 to 80 percent of your overall body composition, so although being physically active and working out helps you have strong bones and a strong immune system, you are what you eat. The old adage is 100 percent true.

If you don't eat fruits and vegetables, you have a lower chance of warding off disease. If you don't eat fruits and vegetables, you are not going to be able to study as well. If you eat the wrong foods, fatty foods and bad sugar foods, you are going to go on a high and then a very low low." said DeAses.

Junk food is the worst thing for those late night study sessions. DeAses advises students to choose foods with natural sugar and fiber, like an apple, or protein-based snacks like almonds or trail mix.

Lee Shea and Amanda Martinez are both seniors at Sam who said they've always stayed active. It translates into less stress and a better self image.

"[Exercise] is self-rewarding," said Shea. "It wakes your body up and you feel better about yourself."

Martinez teaches aerobics on campus, and says that people sometimes feel too intimidated to try working out. "We have group fitness and personal trainers to help. We don't want that to be the only reason people don't work out," she said.

Shea and Martinez realize that eating healthy is hard to do when students are on the meal plan. "Everything is fried or covered in butter," said Shea.

Martinez recommends students choose foods based on color: green, yellow and red usually means healthy. She tells people who take her aerobics class to eat a healthy breakfast before working out, and eat something afterwards, too.

The HKC is open Monday-Thursday 6 a.m.-10 p.m. The weight room is closed from 7:30 a.m.-12 p.m. for classes, but the track and other facilities will be open. Sunday the HKC is open from 3 p.m.-10 p.m. and Saturday 1 p.m.- 6 p.m. Information on classes, sports and training is available by calling 294-1966.

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