The Do’s and Don’ts of Staying Fit

February 22, 2012 • By Piers Rim '12  
Filed under Column, Opinion

The Dos and Don’ts of Staying Fit

            Ever wonder how Arnold Schwarzenegger got to be so huge? Steroids, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about. The dos and don’ts of staying fit, most likely, may come as no surprise for the lot of you, but that’s just how simple it is. This isn’t for the health junky that probably already adheres to the majority of the rules to maintain physical fitness. This is more for the party guy that loves to drink, for the cigarette smoker that smokes a pack a day, for the valedictorian that studies until 3 a.m. every day, and for the fast-food fiend that claims “I can eat whatever I want and not get fat so that means it’s okay.” What follows are the dos and don’ts of staying fit:

The Dos

  1. Exercise! Never leave out the fundamentals of staying fit. Get active, whether it’s running around the block, walking your dog, weightlifting at a local gym, or playing a sport. It’s absolutely crucial that your body goes through some sort of activity. According to an editorial by Stefan Anitei in news.softpedia.com, it has been shown that exercise burns excess calories, reduces the risk of colon cancer, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and type II diabetes. It has also been shown to promote bone growth in children and potency in older men, and it helps improve coordination and memory. Plus, it’s just an obvious way to stay fit and lose those thunder thighs or love-handles.
  2. Eat healthy! The next time you go grocery shopping, try to stay out of the snack aisle and try to lounge around the fruits and vegetables. To the growing teenagers and even to the post-adolescents out there who think they can eat whatever they want and get away with it, change your diet to a healthy one if it isn’t already. Eating healthy foods has a string of benefits that all seem to connect. Studies reviewed by the Palo Alto Medical Foundation have shown that a healthy diet reduces the risk of cancers and other cardiovascular diseases. It’s also a strong fighting factor against obesity and diabetes. So drop the burgers and fries and enjoy some tilapia with some salad on the side.
  3. Sleep! Rest! These are often ignored due to the varying circumstances an individual must go through, but the recommended amount of sleep for a teenager would be about 8.5 – 9.25 hours of sleep in a day, as reviewed by the National Sleep Foundation. Of course, there is no magic number because everyone’s different biologically. However, that doesn’t mean that it should be used as an excuse to stay up until 1 a.m. shooting down zombies on your Xbox. Find time to sleep. Your body needs it, whether you know it or not. Short sleep duration is said to be linked to obesity, increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, increased risk of depression, lethargy, and substance abuse, and a decrease in memory retention and focus.

The Don’ts

  1. Alcohol! I know how fun high school parties can be, and I know how weird college parties can get, but believe me when I say that if you’re on the road to physical fitness and you’re getting wasted every weekend, then for every one step that you take, you are taking three steps back. It’s counterproductive. Dianne G. Thomas, from the Mecklenburg County Health Department, stated that alcohol dehydrates the muscle cells in your body preventing proper muscle growth. Not only that, but it directly affects the liver which is used to diffuse nutrients within the blood that may be needed for your muscles’ growth. In short, drinking to get drunk may be fun, but it’s unnecessary. However, some red wine every now and again (when you are of legal drinking age) is said to be beneficial to your heart. Just some food for thought.
  2. Quitting! I can’t tell you how many people start a diet or workout routine with such passion and zeal, but end up regressing back to their original lifestyle in about two weeks. It’s all mental. Take your diet slowly. Change one meal at a time, cutting out one snack at a time and eventually, you’ll be a model for Hollister in no time. The same goes for your workout routine. Don’t go too hard every day at the gym and break your body to where it hurts to laugh. Take it easy. Go light with the weights, stretch and warm-up before each exercise. If you are sore, just avoid working that body part, and REST! You can’t rebuild your broken down muscles if you keep breaking them down! Again, that’s just counterproductive.
  3. Starve! For the girls that are a size 00, congratulations, you’re really skinny. For the heavier girls that wish to be their size, it’s not going to happen if you skip every meal and starve your body. Weight loss and physical fitness in general relies on the body’s metabolism. Starving yourself not only slows it down, but forces your body to retrieve the needed nutrients from other important places in your body like muscles and fats. Eat your food! You don’t have to eat less per se, just eat the right kinds of foods. Actually, studies reveal that eating five smaller meals a day in contrast to the usual three is healthier for you, says the Healthy Eating Guide.

The Dos and Don’ts of staying fit is hard to maintain, but the results are well worth the struggle.. People say that going to the gym is key, but let me be the one to tell you that how you spend your time outside the gym is far more important. So struggle, sweat, and strive to be a better you.

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