25th Anniversary Celebration Planned for The Eye
Student Journal Seeks
Gaining at NHTI
By Tom Walton, NHTI Cross Country Coach
“Lack of Exercise Has Students Gaining More Than an Education” was the name of an article that one of my Personal Health students passed along to me. The article appeared in a college publication in Texas, but the message is universal.
I have been in the business of teaching people to exercise all of my professional life. I teach two health science classes here at NHTI, as well as serve as Head Coach for the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Programs. I run a wellness program for Northeast Delta Dental as a Certified Personal Trainer.
You, as a student here at NHTI, are expected to gain in a multitude of ways during your college years. Knowledge, social experience and maturity should increase substantially, but not body weight. Specifically, body fat should not increase.
The “freshman fifteen” that many of you have heard about and, perhaps, experienced, is not a myth. Studies show that students on average gain 3 to 10 pounds during their first 2 years of college. Most of this weight gain occurs during the first semester of freshman year.
College offers many temptations. You're on your own and free to eat what you want, when you want it. You can pile on the portions in the dining hall, eat dinners of French fries and ice cream, and indulge in sugary and salty snacks to fuel late-night study sessions. In addition, you are undoubtedly not getting enough exercise, nor are you exercising with consistency.
College is also a time of change. Change can be stressful, and the stress of acclimating to school can trigger overeating. Eating in response to feelings and not in response to hunger is, unfortunately, a habit that may very well carry over into your adult life.
The biggest stressor of all is lack of sleep. Your body responds by packing on weight because your body thinks that you are about to face famine and starvation. It may seem weird or unrelated but it’s the truth. Lack of sleep = stress = weight gain.
It’s time to smarten up and not simply with academics. You need a fitness habit. You need to connect with other people and you need to quit eating crap. This stuff is non-negotiable because I can almost guarantee that your freshman fifteen will morph into your middle age thirty.
I am now going to shamelessly promote running at NHTI as a way to address those needs of exercising, stress management, caring, connecting, committing and abstaining from crap. We offer Spring Running Club from mid November through graduation day. We offer fall cross country from the last Monday in August to the first week in November. The NHTI Cross Country Staff cares enough about the “whole person” to offer a holistic approach to exercise and to life in general.
No skill is required whatsoever to run. If you are capable of walking, you are capable of learning to utilize your aerobic capacity to run long. If you were a high school sprinter or thrower and feel that your strengths lie solely in anaerobic activity, you are just plain mistaken.
The fact of the matter is that we utilize very little of our aerobic and anaerobic capacity. This happens to also be true about brain capacity.
Allow us to allow you to become more fully self-actualized as a human being. Contact Beth Wilkes (firstname.lastname@example.org), Perry Seagroves (email@example.com) or me, Tom Walton (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more about running at NHTI and, subsequently, more about how to negotiate the Freshman Fifteen and life in general in a stressful environment.