Daily exercise and a balanced diet

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Emily Ritter-Riegling

Everyone hopes for good health. It is something we wish for ourselves and others, yet in reality many do so little to actually achieve good health.

And when I mean health, I don’t mean ripped muscles and strict dieting. I mean daily exercise and a balanced diet. And I am aware that this is pretty old school and I’m writing what everyone has been telling us for years.

Yet I still think there are so many out there, especially youth, who struggle in the diet and exercise department.

Though our parents determine some of our meals, the rest is up to us.  So we choose how we eat, and it’s not always the best choice. We go for lunch to Dairy Queen or get Slurpees at 7-Eleven, ignoring the devastating effects it has on our bodies.

But still I don’t think the fast-food is the biggest diet-issue that teenagers struggle with. The lack of eating is having huge effects on learning and growing. When I say “lack of eating” I mean skipping whole meals or even going days with eating very little of substance.

Some people may be surprised to hear this but I know people who will eat only little things which add up to very few nutrients for their bodies.

And though this may be a bit less extreme, many youth skip breakfast, lunch or both on a daily basis because there isn’t enough time or they lack the motivation to make something for themselves.

So, between the large variety of junk food available and skipping meals, it’s no wonder that some students find it hard to function, much less learn.

Not only are there issues with food, but there’s the fact that students have to sit nearly all day, every day. Sometimes the only exercise we get is when we walk to our next class and this is causing problems for many students, both mental and physical.

When we sit for hours at a time we risk damaging our bodies over time. It becomes easier for the body to gain unhealthy fat and loose muscle. It isn’t good for you or your organs.

Sitting all day is also having devastating effects on mental health, something many youth face issues with. Exercise is proven to improve your mood and mental state, so you can imagine that sitting has the opposite effect. If students were given more of a chance to move, they could stimulate the brain for learning, reduce stress levels, and help with depression and anxiety.

However very few teachers give “brain breaks” which are a chance to move and stretch half way through class, and they are never long enough to oppose the hours of sitting.

Some of you may remember an article I wrote a few months ago on the education system and some of its issues. I think sitting in a desk all day and listening is just one more thing that needs to be worked on. If our classes were more active and physical there would be improvements in student outcomes and education experiences.

Food and exercise greatly influence our ability to learn. We need to feed our brain with proper nutrition and engage it by exercising. They both play major roles in our health.

No matter the age, we all worry about health, yet if we develop good habits young we decrease the risks of getting some diseases later in life and live a more fulfilling life. If we can be given a chance to exercise by our teachers and are taught to eat and eat well then everyone need not wish for good health.