Stay active, healthy during winter; exercise important


By Gina Lorusso

It’s time to layer up the sweaters, lock the bikes away and prepare for the winter.

When we get into the habit of cuddling up until the winter is over, we sacrifice the healthy everyday activities we do. Of course, there are ways to stay healthy during the winter without getting sick from running outside or feeling like a plump squirrel sleeping the season away.

It’s tempting to hop on the bus or take your car to class all winter long rather than walking. According to the American Heart Association, walking and doing moderate physical activity for 30 minutes a day can help you maintain a healthy body weight, improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels and enhance your mental wellbeing.

Just a 10-minute walk a couple times a day can offer you countless benefits. Throw on your North Face, grab your mittens and take a brisk stroll to DuSable Hall rather than hopping on the jam-packed 2R.

Many students on campus partake in small and simple habits like this every day to keep them from going into dreaded hibernation.

“I always drink a glass of cranberry juice in the morning to boost my immune system,” said Mary Haynes, graduate counseling and adult higher education student.

Keeping your immune system strong and well-functioning is vital, especially during flu season. I always drink water with a slice of an orange in it to get those extra nutrients in my system, and the orange adds a great flavor to bland water.

“Eating a side salad with every meal keeps me on top of eating my veggies,” said Brandon Dorsey, senior rehab services major. “Just a serving of vegetables with my food makes me feel healthier.”

Small healthy habits are easy to implement and are beneficial to your wellbeing. Keep that in mind when you make choices in the dining halls or when going out to eat.

The Recreation Center also has just what you need to stay healthy during finals week.

“We offer a few free fitness classes during the week of finals to de-stress students,” said Chrissy Tluczek, assistant director of Open Recreation. “Also, a lot of body weight exercises, such as burpees, mountain climbers and planks, are getting more popular because they don’t require any weights and you can do them anywhere, even in your dorm.”

Easy and quick exercises can mean the difference between feeling sluggish and lazy and feeling energetic and confident. Another resource at the Rec that is beneficial to students is free health consultations.

“There are two free consultations that are offered to students: A fitness trainer consultation and a nutrition advice session,” said Eric Appiah, assistant director of Fitness and Wellness. “The advisers are very qualified grad students, and we also have a professional dietician on staff to give students confidence in how to eat and live healthy.”

All the help you need to continue your healthy habits during the winter will still be available to you.

Before you climb on a packed bus and stare down a greasy meal, think about the choices you’ll have to make if you want to avoid going into hibernation for the winter.