Pumping Up the New Year

By Kiran Sharma

As a Kinesiology major, we learn a lot about exercise and how it affects the human body. And it doesn’t take a Kinesiology major to know that exercise is good for you, but as busy Honors students juggling classes and activities, it seems that fitting in exercise becomes a challenge. Did you know that the #1 New Year’s resolution is to lose weight? Probably not a shocker, but did you also know that 50% of all the people who try to lose weight by exercising in the New Year drop out within 6 months?

Lack of time is commonly cited as the reason for dropping out as well as not seeing results. However, exercise is not the only factor that goes into losing weight. A healthy diet coupled with exercise as well as with adequate sleep and low stress levels promote overall well-being and the most weight-loss.

It takes time to see the internal benefits from exercise manifest into those external benefits (such as gain in muscle tone and weight loss). Exercising alone is not the key to losing weight, but this can be hard to remember due to marketing efforts. As a society, we market exercise for weight loss, and when we do that we downplay the great effects exercise does for us on the inside (better mental health, decreased stress/anxiety, higher energy, a body that functions better, etc.). It seems we think exercising has to be some long, drawn out process to get the best results, which I’m about to tell you is not the case.

So, what can busy Honors students do to reap the benefits of exercise? It turns out that it really is not about quantity, but quality.

Something I’m trying this semester is a Kinesiology class (KIN 166) that introduces you to the basic principles of weight lifting and learning proper lifting technique. This is working great for me because I keep using the excuse, “I don’t have time!” and the gym can be intimidating, but making exercise into a class forces me to go (not just because they take attendance, but like all good Honors students I don’t like to skip class 😉 The best part is you can choose from a multitude of Kinesiology activity classes ranging from badminton to swimming and even dancing and pick the best one for you. Most are for 1 credit and meet two times a week for 50 minutes each.

Just adding 100 minutes per week of weightlifting into my schedule has helped me so much (and it has only been 6 weeks!) I feel less stressed, my posture has improved, I have more energy during class, I can focus longer, I feel happier….you get the gist.

So just remember that every little bit of exercise helps you in the long run. Can’t make it to the gym for an hour workout? Go on a 5 minute walk or take a victory lap around whatever building you’re in on campus. Your body (and mind) will thank you for it.

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