Opinion

Taking Small Steps to a Healthier Lifestyle

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MISHAWAKA – Playing video games can be both a hobby and a profession; however, since both hobbies and jobs take up sizeable portions of an average person’s life, it would be a good idea to balance out those rather inactive hobbies or professions, like video games, with a spot of exercise. 

One of the easiest exercises to engage in, provided the space and physical ability, is walking. Walking isn’t talked about as much as some of the more high-intensity exercises like running, biking or swimming, but it’s a perfectly legitimate way to stay active and get your heart pumping.  

Walking isn’t necessarily all you should be doing to exercise, unless you’re walking for at least a mile at a time – which, coincidentally, happens to be roughly the circumference of Bethel’s campus. It’s usually best if paired with another activity that, again, doesn’t have to be that intensive. Depending on your pace, walking a mile doesn’t take too long—usually 30-45 minutes; that is already one-half to three-quarters of the recommended amount of daily physical activity. Finishing out the hour with push-ups and sit-ups is a great way to cap it off. 

Alternatively, an hour at the gym for a few days a week would also be an ideal option. Granted, some people aren’t fond of a crowd when they exercise, myself included. For this reason, I make frequent use of the Sailor Hall Gym; while smaller in size, it also has a smaller pool of visitors, making it easy to pop in for an hour, work out, and leave, all in relative solitude.  

For workouts, the best idea is to look for several different exercises that work different parts of your body, find the ones that are the best for you at that time, learn the motions, and then head out to the gym. Another reason people avoid the gym that I can also sympathize with is not wanting to mix up exercises and end up not really exercising anything. Most exercise machines have instructions on how to use them and graphics displaying what muscles are being used, but free weights can be a tad more difficult in that regard. I worked out with my dad on several occasions, wrote down most of the exercises he taught me that I wanted to continue doing, and looked up any others I found interesting. This way, I wouldn’t get lost on what to do next or how to do it. 

Finally, the tip I consider most difficult: resisting snacking. An effective way to ease yourself into this habit is to wean yourself off the snacking; limit it to one snack a day for maybe three days a week. This will get your body used to a lower food intake and keep you from getting as hungry as often. Try keeping the snack comparatively healthy; failing that, keep it light. 

A small change in diet that’s done well for me is cutting out sugary drinks like soda or juice. I limited myself to three of them per week, and before I knew it, I was usually putting water in my cup, with the occasional glass of milk. Every now and then, I’ll let myself have a cup of lemonade, but I’ve not found myself missing soda too much. The only time I’ll get it or lemonade is when I’m eating out; I do that infrequently enough that getting a sugary drink each time still amounts to less than three a week. 

All of this may not seem like much, but it’s quite the jump compared to not doing much at all. Furthermore, it’s even more difficult going from nothing to a full workout regimen, diet and lifestyle change at the beginning of every year. Having this little introduction to a healthier lifestyle can gradually lead you into more demanding things if you so desire. In summary, the best way to begin improving your physical health is to do more and eat less. 

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