OPINION: Use this summer to better yourself and be healthier

Many students may have more spare time than usual due to reduced class load. Using this free time to start getting active can have benefits ranging from improved confidence to better sleep and even more focus.


There are various reasons why getting in shape and trying to improve your health will benefit you, one of which is feeling better mentally. 


With the past year being stressful and uncertain for everyone, now is the time to try and destress. On top of reducing stress, there are other benefits outlined in one article that range from helping with anxiety to even PTSD and trauma.


For students taking summer classes like myself, being active can also help you stay focused. I am taking an asynchronous online class, leaving a lot more free time on my hands than I usually have. 


Being active is a good way to stay busy and motivated to keep doing more. In my case, it helps me be more motivated to go out and do things instead of looking at a screen most of the day due to not having much of a schedule.


For me, not having any actual classes to go to or many things to fill my time with can be demotivating — my habit of going to the gym every day helps me solve that problem.


While a gym or fitness center isn’t necessary for you to accomplish your goals, you’ll need to develop a habit of doing something active everyday. The more you try to get your body moving with things like walking, jogging, or swimming, the easier it will be each day.


A lot of people tend to struggle with keeping a habit like that, and as a result may keep it for a time, get closer to their goals and then eventually stop due to not seeing timely results. Even small accomplishments like losing a few pounds is progress, it’s not impossible to see results, but it takes a lot of effort.


In my experience, the best way to combat the problem of motivation is to think of what being more healthy will help you accomplish. Try to set goals and check them off one by one, no matter how small they are.


Going out and actually trying to accomplish your goals will help you gain more confidence if you let it, and in the long run will help your overall confidence. Being healthy and exercising are about bettering yourself.


While important, exercise is only one part of the equation, with a healthier diet being the next key part. 


There are various physical benefits, but eating healthier will improve your mood as well. One article from Sutter Health discusses some of the nutritional benefits of eating a balanced and healthy diet such as how lower diets of sugar can help improve depression.


I think one of the best feelings for me personally is eating something I know is good for me. It helps to think about each healthy food decision as a small part of a much bigger goal.


Getting in shape effectively requires some sort of healthy diet, and if you know one of your food decisions will help you, you might feel good about it afterwards. 


Expecting to be healthier with only exercise can be unrealistic and eventually cause you to give up if you don’t see the results you want. Improving your diet can change how you feel about yourself and improve your chances of seeing results.


Summer and every other time of the year should be about improving yourself, but the earlier you start, the faster you’ll get to where you want.


Getting in shape is obviously not an easy task, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. But if you put in the effort, you’ll find that it was worth it.


Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve stayed inside for way too long in the past year, so try and use this summer to take more control over your health.


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