Highway to Health: Introduction

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Let’s face it, college is prime breeding ground for bad life choices. When faced with the intense demands of classes, work, friends, and jobs, many of us take the easier route of cuddling up to Netflix instead of hitting the Matchbox. Not to say our student body consists only of frail, pasty-looking individuals (shout out to Swarthmore being voted 3rd for hottest guys…who knew?). But being healthier means making sustainable, sometimes difficult, changes to our hectic college lifestyles — like choosing that apple instead of the Boston creme pie at Sharples.

The struggle is too damn real, and it goes way back for me. In high school, after cross country practice ended, I would grab Costco’s jumbo box of tiramisu and finish it in one sitting while studying for my chemistry exam — all because I was too lazy to cook myself a real dinner. #KirklandIsBae

My active lifestyle gave me a false sense of security, justifying my disgusting eating habits and sleepless nights. After my metabolism failed me, I would purge myself by eating only raw vegetables or crackers, making unsustainable choices that inevitably ended up with me losing control of my hunger and eating even more.

Thankfully, there is no Costco in walking distance from Swarthmore. But with the realization that yes, there is more to life than just grades and work, I have made informed and sustainable strides to change my lifestyle for the past few years.

In the articles to come, I’ll be covering a wide range of topics regarding health and wellness: Why should everyone weight lift? What is HIIT? How many calories should you ACTUALLY consume each day? What is the difference between a physical and chemical sunscreen?

Our habits now as young adults will influence our health later in life, so being healthy shouldn’t be something to put off until after college. A 2013 study concluded that physical activity has a positive long-term influence on heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease (Reiner).

So instead of reading Yik Yak when you’re on the toilet, read this column instead. I promise I’ll keep them relevant and to the point.

Disclaimer: Obviously, I’m not a doctor so take what I say with a grain of salt.  But hopefully that grain of salt is low-sodium.

Reiner, Miriam et al. “Long-Term Health Benefits of Physical Activity – a Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies.” BMC Public Health 13 (2013): 813.PMC. Web. 18 Aug. 2015.

Featured image by Susan Gao.

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