Staff Writer, Kaleel Weatherly
For many busy college students, diet and exercise can often take a backseat to studying and extracurricular activities.
According to Lois Durant, Mason’s registered dietician, some students can expect to gain between seven to ten pounds throughout their freshman year. To avoid this, she advises students to avoid eating unhealthy foods and add exercise into their daily routine.
“Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are the ones [students] should include in their diets daily,” Durant said. “A variety of colors in their diet and protein would be best.”
She also points out that they should consume meat substitutes, like beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.
However, this is easier said than done. Planning meals throughout the day could be a difficult task, especially when balancing class schedules and extra-curricular activities.
“The general rule is for students to eat three meals and three snacks a day. Smaller meals and smaller snacks would be better,” Durant advises.
Durant also mentioned that Mason will soon be launching, “Mason Dining Wellness Meals.” The program will be focused on helping resident students pick out healthy choices for every on campus meal.
Eating healthy is just one half of the equation. Adding in exercise, like weight lifting, jogging or yoga, is another important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
“Exercises like resistance training, cardiovascular exercises, yoga, and flexibility exercises will be beneficial to students. It is important that they stretch their muscles as well,” Durant says.
Junior Lottye Lockhart makes sure she gets cardio training in a few times a week.
“I, in fact, do go running twice a week at a minimum. I also really like our spinning classes and yoga classes, mainly because people I know are teaching them,” Lockhart said.
Motivated to keep her active lifestyle going, she went off campus to find a personal trainer to work out with in Arlington, Virginia. Lockhart explains that she feels different about herself after a workout than she does if she hasn’t participated in any activity for a couple of days.
“When you work out, your body releases endorphins, which makes you happy. When you’re working out, you just feel so much better. I think that it helps your mental health,” she adds.
Lockhart recommends that students eat breakfast, because there are healthy food choices provided like pears and peaches. Along with fruits and vegetables, Lockhart also consumes protein shakes after most of her workouts.
However, she also understands that keeping up with a healthy lifestyle can often get pushed aside when schoolwork becomes a student’s first priority.
“The biggest problem is that when midterms come around, students get caught up into their school work, which is good,” Lockhart said. “However, make sure you are still checking in with yourself to make sure that you are at the same time eating.”