Worth the weight

Staying healthy at City College

Robert Pace | Staff Writer
It’s not easy to transition from the comforting world of high school into the do-it-yourself world of higher education. It’s no longer enough just to wake up every morning and attend class. With new independence come constant worries about money, parking and staying healthy.

Staying healthy at City College doesn’t have to be a chore. There are a wide variety of methods for keeping that beginning-of-the semester flu away and — gasp — the dreaded freshman 15, the first-year of weight gain that plagues many new students.

“This time of year students need to watch out for allergies, ear and sinus infections,” says Wendy Gomez, the City College nurse.

Gomez suggests that students stay healthy by managing their stress levels through a stress outlet, which can include anything from prayer and meditation to exercise.

As for the freshman 15, Gomez says that students should prepare healthy snacks over the weekend to bring with them to school.

“There are healthy options here, but don’t rely on them; stay away from vending machines,” she warns.

Exercise is another method for battling weight gain and illness, and this semester it’s easier than ever with the opening of the new Life Fitness Center in the North Gymnasium.

“The Life Fitness Center offers tremendous opportunity and flexibility to exercise at times convenient for students,” says Athletics Dean Mitch Campbell.

Students are afforded this opportunity after they enroll in a Fitness 371, a 1-unit course that allows them to utilize the North Gym to their advantage.

“Healthy living is all about consistency and setting patterns for yourself, not only understanding that you need to exercise but committing the time to do it,” Campbell says.

In addition to the Life Fitness Center, traditional gym classes also offer students the opportunity to stay healthy while earning course credit.

“We have a great variety of courses – and great instructors teaching those courses – that really provides people with the chance to find something that suits their interest,” Campbell says.
Sometimes healthy living is more subtle than taking time out to exercise though.

“I worried about the Freshman 15 my first semester in college,” says Socheatey Ung, a returning student at City College. “But it turned out to be easier to avoid than I’d thought. Instead of taking elevators, I always made sure to use the stairs, and I didn’t eat meals on campus, just snacks to keep me going through the day.”

Relieving stress takes a bit more effort, though.

“When I’m stressed about something I try to take a break from it. I’ll usually go to the mall and just walk around and shop a little until I feel better,” Ung says.

Returning students can benefit from these tips as well; stress, unhealthy diets and a lack of exercise can take their toll at any time, not just during that first semester.

Staying active, avoiding overly salty or fatty foods, and effectively managing your stress level are good habits to learn now and will keep you looking and feeling great both in school and later in life.