Health and Fitness: The essential practices for healthier living

Eight-minute workouts. Toning shoes. Diet pills. Five-day detoxes. It really doesn’t need to be said, but our society is obsessed with looking good — and hopefully acquiring such appearances with minimal effort.

Sadly, it doesn’t work like that.

Some of us have been blessed with the skinny gene, while it takes others more work to tone up. Please keep in mind that “skinny” doesn’t translate into healthy by any means. Health is about more than appearances; it’s about taking care of yourself — inside and out.

But being healthy isn’t rocket science. It simply requires consistency.

Yahoo! recently interviewed fitness trainer Jackie Warner to find out her opinion about people’s biggest misconceptions regarding their lifestyles.

“People want a magic pill, a shortcut answer,” Warner said. “They look to me and are like, ‘OK, fix me, but I don’t want to change one aspect of my partying lifestyle or my habit of eating fried foods.’”

This seems to be the consensus among most of us. And we can’t blame ourselves for wanting a quick fix either. It’s human nature. But if we just lie around all day watching other people being healthy on television instead of getting up and taking the initiative, nothing is going to happen.

With that being said, here are what I believe to be three essential practices leading to a healthy life:

Exercise. That doesn’t mean train for your first marathon. Just get up off your butt and get moving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that only about 30 percent of adults engage in regular physical activity. Let’s change that. How? Walk around campus. Go to the gym. Attend an exercise class in the SRC. Play basketball. Ideally, try to squeeze in 30 minutes of physical activity, five days a week.

Eat well. It’s all about moderation. Don’t necessarily ban certain foods from your diet, but make sure you’re eating well-rounded meals. Also, make sure you’re eating enough. Eating every few hours keeps your metabolism revving, whereas if you starve yourself until dinner it will become sluggish. How? Control your portion sizes — don’t heap food onto your plate (except veggies). Try to eat five servings of fruit and vegetables every day. It is good to keep this saying in mind while in line at Daly’s: “If you can’t grow it or catch it, don’t eat it.” Also, steer away from sugary, artificial fruit juices and sodas, and opt for water instead.

Nix the cigs and excessive alcohol intake. These are in no way conducive to a healthy lifestyle.

Of course, this is just a rough guide to living healthy, but it doesn’t need to be much more complicated than that. Keep your well-being in mind when you make decisions each day. It’s as easy as pie — perhaps the wrong choice of words, but you know what I mean.

– Amanda Sandlin

Senior journalism major

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