How to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the semester

Zach Trueblood

Staff Writer

Many obligations and commitments accompany the start of a new fall semester for students. Whether those are focusing on a full course load, participating in a club or organization, or finding time to hang out with friends, students can become caught up in these commitments and staying healthy may fall by the wayside.

Fortunately, Parkland offers many resources to students throughout the year so they can keep up with their overall health and fitness.

“When it comes to staying healthy, the first thing I tell students is to utilize the Fitness Center. They can sign up for WCE 800, which is a noncredit course. They can also sign up for a number of our one credit hour courses,” Warren said. “These range from KIN 103 Exercise and Fitness to KIN 147 which is Weight Training,” said Chris Warren, the Personal Fitness Training Program Director and an Associate Professor of Kinesiology.

Warren noted Parkland’s Fitness Center, located in the P building, differs from fitness centers at a four year institution. Many four year institutions have a built in cost for use of their fitness centers. Most students don’t see this cost and assume access to their fitness center is free.

Parkland’s Fitness Center access isn’t included in general tuition fees. Instead students can take courses where they gain access to the Fitness Center.

There are 200 level Kinesiology courses as well in the form of KIN 203 and KIN 247. In these courses students are paired with a nationally certified trainer. There are about 8-10 on staff that are willing to work around student schedules.

Throughout these courses students have access to a body-age assessment. This test typically costs $100-$175 at a commercial gym. The test can compare your chronological age and biological age and highlights a person’s true health.

Warren also detailed how exercise and fitness can be used for stress management for busy students.

“Our kinesiology and personal training programs are some of the best in the country, as a student you should tap into that. Many people also don’t understand that exercise can be used as a coping mechanism for stress and pressure,” Warren stated. “Research shows that when you’re active, you have greater cognitive flexibility. Come in and do your workout, then tackle your most difficult subject matter or use exercise as a training strategy before a big test.”

Parkland’s new Wellness Coordinator Sara Estock is also concerned with helping reduce students’ stress levels. Estock has a master’s degree in public health and a bachelor’s in kinesiology. She also worked as a personal trainer for four years.

“The two big contributing factors of stress for students are time management and lifestyle. So if you can figure out a way to master time management skills and practice a healthy lifestyle, I think a lot of your surrounding stress will dissipate,” Estock said.

Estock urged students to begin utilizing a day planner, whether it’s digital or physical. She mentioned that by keeping track of a daily routine, students can find the time to eat healthier and exercise. She stressed how important it is to eat healthy.

“Planning healthier meals instead of just grabbing the simple things, like fast food, really helps out with energy levels. I think people get sick of hearing the nutrition spiel but you wouldn’t pull into a gas station and select the wrong fuel for your car so you have to view your body in the same sense,” Estock said.

Estock has also offered to serve as a resource for any student interested in obtaining information about a healthy lifestyle. She’s reachable via email and can set up a meeting to talk about reducing stress and improving time management.

Estock is also revamping the student organization PUSH, which stands for Parkland United for Student Health. All students are welcome to attend the Thursday meetings.

One student that is very familiar with a healthy lifestyle is Catherine McHale. McHale is a kinesiology major and a forward on the Parkland women’s soccer team. She explained why she feels that staying active is important.

“I stay healthy by staying active and keeping up with my fitness. Personally I am working out twice a day just being on the women’s soccer team here but in the summer it was usually three times a day doing different types of training,” McHale said. “I have to make sure with all the training I am doing that I am eating good food but more importantly I’m eating enough. A lot of times I don’t realize how many calories I should be consuming in a day based on my workouts. Other than that sleep is big too!”

McHale works out with the soccer team on the field and also in the Fitness Center. She stated that maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help in the long run. For younger students it’s good to take advantage of a high metabolism as it will slow down due to aging.

For students interested in personal fitness training programs contact Chris Warren at cwarren@parkland.edu. For information about reducing stress or joining PUSH contact Sara Estock at sestock@parkland.edu. Late start versions of KIN 103 and 147 are still available for registration. The noncredit WCE 800 can be registered for at any time but is only good for one semester.