How to: Stay active while busy

Nick Mathur, Staff writer

Keeping both the mind and body active is vital for students in order to push through the remaining month of the semester. Exercising regularly and maintaining a balanced diet can prevent illness, relieve stress and keep the mind functioning efficiently.

Fortunately, working out does not require Mercyhurst students to purchase a gym membership or even to leave campus. The REC Center is free and available to all Mercyhurst students with an ID.

Michael Deak, junior Geology major, has a regular workout that he often completes at the REC gym.

“I go to the REC about once a week,” said Deak. “I usually get a 30-minute elliptical workout in.”

There are many ways to get regular exercise in without visiting the REC gym as well. Many of these can be done outside, such as jogging, throwing around a Frisbee disc or going for a walk.

“I like going for walks around campus while listening to music,” Joseph McCarthy, sophomore Geology major, said.

You can also do certain types of exercise without leaving your dorm or apartment. This can include running in place, doing jumping jacks, doing push-ups or doing sit-ups.

“I do sit-ups and push-ups every so often,” said Deak.

It may help to keep small pieces of exercise equipment in your residence hall or apartment. For example, I have a pair of weights in my apartment that I occasionally use right on my couch.

Being involved in certain activities on campus can be another great way to get exercise in. These activities may include a team or club sport, equestrian club, dance team or marching band. I am a member of the marching band and have often found it physically exhausting, particularly during band camp.

Regardless of the type, exercise is essential in order to physically and mentally make it through the rest of the semester.

“Exercise allows us to break free from all the stresses and hard work of studying,” said Deak. “A ‘healthy body, healthy mind’ mentality reflects this perspective.”

It is also important to maintain a balanced diet. This means getting your daily share of dairy, protein, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables.

It should be noted that by “carbohydrates,” I am not referring to fatty foods such as French fries, pizza, ice cream or candy. In this instance, I am referring to carbohydrates lacking in fat or simple sugar, such as bread and pasta.

Visiting the Grotto Commons salad bar as often as possible is a great way to get in your daily fruits and vegetables. I visit the salad bar almost every day, and usually get a salad, an apple or a banana. I also enjoy the fruit that is served less frequently, such as pineapple, kiwi and grapes, when they are available.

“I visit the salad bar every morning at breakfast,” said Deak. “I usually get cantaloupe and honeydew.”

Visiting Daily Dish in the Grotto Commons is another great way to help maintain a balanced diet. Here, you can often get many of your essential food groups on one plate, particularly proteins and carbohydrates.

While the Grotto Commons’ daily menu rotates often, three items that are always available are French fries, pizza and dessert. The fact that they are so frequently available makes them hard to resist, especially the dessert. It never hurts to enjoy these foods in moderation, but they probably should not become part of your daily diet. Here are some tips to help you enjoy these foods in moderation and also maintain a balanced diet.

First, you can designate certain days, weeks or even months where you will avoid fatty foods, and ones where you can enjoy them. Second, you can choose to occasionally substitute healthier foods for fatty ones, while still enjoying the fatty foods in moderation.

“Lately, I’ve been doing a pretty good job of steering clear of the pizza,” said Deak. “I’ve also been trying to give up ice cream.”

Collin Davis, freshman Hospitality Management major, often takes advantage of the “substitution” strategy.

“Sometimes, instead of pizza I might have fruit, or instead of pasta I might have a sandwich,” said Davis.

Maintaining a balanced diet is essential in keeping the body healthy and the mind active, which are both necessary for students.

“It’s good to get a slice or two of pizza or a sugary treat every once in a while, but you can only have so much of it,” said Deak. “Your body needs nutrients in order to process all the new information you’re learning in your classes every day.”