Getting the skinny on fitness, well-being

If you think that winter is an excuse to hibernate in your dorm room with a bag of chips instead of going to the gym, think again. Women and men need to shun sit-on-your-butt activities

If you think that winter is an excuse to hibernate in your dorm room with a bag of chips instead of going to the gym, think again. Women and men need to shun sit-on-your-butt activities in order to shed some pounds for spring.

But before you can start working out, you need to educate yourself about the misconceptions most of us have about fitness before we go to the health club. Don’t like working out at the gym? Check out a healthy, quick fitness plan for the person on the go. The following are misconceptions about working out:

I’m thin, I don’t need the gym. Even if you’re not worried about gaining that extra winter weight, there are plenty of reasons to exercise. Exercise reduces the risk of heart disease, which is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States.

Less active people have a 40 percent greater risk of developing high blood pressure even if they’re slim. Since changing your gender isn’t an option most of us consider, a workout, any workout will have to do.

Who has the time to workout? I have a job, an internship, and school! Most of us are already swamped with finals coming up and deadlines from our jobs. However, neglecting to workout, even for five minutes of the day can do more damage to your health in the future. If you take the bus or train to work, hop off a few stops early and walk. Walking quickly for 12 minutes burns about 100 calories. Or if you like to unwind by watching television, do a few sit-ups and crunches during the commercial break. Even if you do a little every day you are well on your way to achieving success in weight control.

If I work out with weights it will make be bulkier and bigger instead of slender. Studies show that by skipping out on strength-training you are missing out on big-time health benefits. Weights build muscle, preserve bone density and keep your metabolism revved, which helps minimize weight gain. By investing in a pair of five-pound dumbbells and committing to two 20-minute strength-training sessions a week, you will see results within three weeks. A smaller waist, toner figure, and a stable body weight are just some of the effects of weight training. So now you’re not as confused as you once were about health and fitness. But you still need the basics about what to do and what not to do. Here are 5 Essential Tips for staying fit:

Get Educated

Not knowing how to stay fit is the worst thing you can do to your health. Education is an ongoing process that takes a lifetime. It may seem like nutritionists are constantly contradicting what was said yesterday by other nutritionists. To avoid incorrect or false information, you need to be careful about where you get your information. You can obtain healthy tips and facts from your doctor, the school nutritionist, fitness trainer, books, the local gym and tapes written by other professionals.

Fitness and Exercise

Losing weight and staying healthy is a combination of diet and exercise. Before starting any regime, you need to make sure that it’s safe. Also, there is no guarantee that a workout you begin with will be the one you will use for a lifetime. Try several workout plans: pilates, weight lifting, running, swimming and aerobics before sticking to one or two. Needless to say, if you haven’t exercised in more than two to four months you should ease into your new program. Any sign of pain or discomfort is a clear signal that you should either terminate the program or lessen your sessions.


Healthy eating is vital to your workout plan. Eating right and exercise go hand-in-hand. Studies say that most men and women believe that having a low calorie diet will keep the weight off, but this does not work in the long term. Remember to get educated – not only about how your body looks on the outside but how it feels on the inside. A healthy diet will give you the energy, vitamins and minerals necessary for everyday life.

Sweet Dreams

Most college students aren’t able to put in the full eight hours of sleep needed for a night. We usually fight off sleep during that 8:30 class in the morning after an all-nighter of partying, studying-or both.

Many of us believe that getting a good night of z’s isn’t necessary at 18 or 21, but studies show that it is the only period of the day where the body is most effective in repairing injuries and growing new cells. Getting good sleep also makes you feel better and more alert during the day. Sleep also helps relieve stress.

Smoking and Alcohol

Drink alcohol moderately or not at all. Too much alcohol can lead to weight problems. There are also risk factors to your health with even moderate levels of consumption, some advise to avoid drinking entirely.

Alexis K. Morgan can be reached at

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