Student discusses cardio benefits

Anzhelika Tolstikhina

Did you stay up late last night? Was it because of cramming for the test you didn’t study for? Or maybe you had to work a late shift at a job in order to pay rent? Or you were just being mischievous and playing video games?

Being a college student isn’t easy. We have to cope with the constant stress of graduating on time and finding an internship that will help us get a job. Among all of the responsibilities, we often forget to take time for ourselves. Not “that” time, but time for our health. 

On top of that, students often do not have time to cook, which results in too much fast food, more money spent, more hours at work and less study time. As you can see, we are back to staying up late again. 

But what about being young, beautiful and healthy, to ensure we don’t fade?  According to the American Heart Association, a lack of physical activity and poor diet results in the nation’s leading killer diseases: heart attacks and strokes.

The majority of students attempt to exercise at least once during their college career, but never achieve consistency required to maintain health. We try to dig within for motivation, which is like a New Year’s Resolution – it comes once a year but dies off quickly while we helplessly let it go. The question arises of how to actually develop an exercise routine that reduces the risk of dying from a heart disease in the future.

Cierra Casey, a nursing major, shared her strategy for regular exercise.

“I have to be honest with myself and just do it,” Casey said. 

The American Heart Association set specific guidelines found to prevent deadly medical conditions. Depending on the individual’s health, the suggestion is to engage in minimal of 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. Seemingly large amounts of time translate into rather achievable 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

The only question left is how to make exercise as effective as possible in such a short time. The issue here is that many students consider going to the gym an adventure that takes much more time than half an hour.

Reasonably calculating their capabilities in advance, students dread having lack of time. But since staying physically active should become a priority also, students should take the first step to eliminate fear of falling behind on school while reconsidering their attitude toward their own health.

The simplest positive change any Ichabod can make is to start taking every opportunity in daily life to move around, be it biking to campus, parking farther from class or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. After a while, you will begin to notice an increase in concentration level and start feeling more energetic, which eventually will lead you to aspire to maintain higher levels of wellness.

“I find it the best to go work out in between classes to wind down,” said Kelsea Shellenberger, criminal justice major.

Consider taking an evening walk with a friend or join the Wednesday yoga class, offered by the Student Recreation and Wellness Center during the lunch break. Eventually, without feeling pressured into exercising, you will realize the need to take some time out of the day for yourself and meet the minimal requirements in the way of disease prevention.

From a personal observation, a lot of students do enter the doors of the Rec Center and even begin their journey toward ultimate vitality. At this point it is really important to choose a workout plan that will be the most beneficial for health. Having set apart an hour specifically for that purpose, students need to consider the most effective way to make working out worth their time. Instead of engaging in monotone swinging back and forth on the elliptical, consider high intensity exercise training.

“I think HIIT is really important as long as your heart rate stays within the recommended 120-180 beats per minute,” said Kristin Dirks, a kinesiology professor.

HIIT involves an alternation of intense speeds of exercise with less intense recovery periods. It takes less time than traditional cardio, but most importantly, HIIT gets the heart rate to skyrocket, which ultimately makes it stronger.

“High Intensity Interval Training is more beneficial because I can run faster and swim further,” said Devin Stucky, history major. 

In addition, this type of training contributes to the production of a growth hormone, which is known for its fat burning properties that has been linked to prevention of high blood pressure with consistent training.

“If you only have 30 minutes and still have to get a workout in, then HIIT is great. Just make sure to warm up beforehand,” said Jared Denton, law student.

Take my advice. Walking a few extra steps, taking a yoga class and doing a high intensity exercise on a regular basis provided by SRWC are great first steps to taking back your health and fighting heart disease down the road.