February is National Heart Health month and what better time to get a second chance on your New Year’s resolution to be fit and healthy.
Sure, on January 1, we all made a pledge that we would get healthy, whether it was logging more minutes on the treadmill or foregoing the usual side of fries in exchange for a healthy fruit salad. Although these may be small changes, they can all add up in the equation for a healthier lifestyle.
If you fell off the health wagon this past month, it’s your chance to hop right back on and do as Demi Lovato says and “give your heart a break” from your unhealthy lifestyle.
As a college student, we may think that we are invincible. We don’t stretch before workouts (I learned the hard way having suffered an Achilles tendon strain), we eat whatever we want and comfort ourselves with the excuse that our metabolisms are so fast that we can sometimes skip a workout because let’s face it, we don’t have time. These are all preconceived notions that have led some of us to where we are today: lethargic and overweight. In a society where everything is super-sized right down to waistlines of Americans, seize this moment to make a change in your life.
Carbs are the devil? Contrary to popular belief, rice, pasta and bread can be healthy, depending on which type you choose. Steer clear of white, starchy breads that have no redeeming nutritional values. Opt for the whole grain variety, whether it is a 12 grain bread or whole wheat. Just as an aside, always check your bread labels. If the first ingredient is anything other than whole-wheat, keep searching. Many of us, especially Italians, can’t live without our fix of spaghetti. Have no fear! Getting healthy doesn’t mean that you have to completely cut out pastas. Instead, make a small change and switch to whole wheat pasta to reap the benefits of heart healthy whole grains.
Get moving! The life of a college student can be very hectic. Between class and studying and meetings and more studying, free time is at a premium. If you feel like there are not enough hours in the day to fit in the gym, reconsider. One way to always make time is to pre pack your gym back the night before. Fill your bag with socks, shoes, your gym clothes, a lock, and any other items you may need. This will remove the stress from having to get up early to pack a bag and you will be more likely to hit the gym. Also, instead of taking a study break and lounging on your bed catching up on the latest reality TV shows, head to the gym and watch them while you do cardio. You will be killing two birds with one stone!
Eat right – Small changes make a big difference. Instead of reaching for the calorie laden ranch dressing at Towers, make your own dressing and mix a little olive oil with vinegar. This will add healthy fats and cut some calories from your diet at the same time. Being more conscious about your food choices will lead to better choices and simple swaps such as side salad rather than a side of fries will help you in your efforts to get healthy.