How to stay healthy as the Spring 2016 semester comes to a frantic finish

Ashley Gerwitz, Contributor

When getting closer to the end of the semester, it’s easy to stray away from healthy habits, but staying healthy and fit should be a high priority in our daily lives.

Things that can be done to stay healthy:

* Sleep 8-9 hours

* A balanced life

* Exercise 3-5 times a week for an hour

* Eat right

* Engagement

* Healthy relationships

“Young people don’t get enough sleep,” said Dr. Theresa R. Stephan Hains, the director of the Weigel Health Center. “It’s all about a balanced life that involves getting good sleep and eating well.”

For students, it’s also important to engage with people and form friendships, Stephan Hains said. She said it’s important for students to interact with real people rather than to have disengaged interactions on Facebook, Twitter or other social media.

“Any extra activity will benefit you,” said Corey Pepero, personal trainer at the Southtowns YMCA. “You don’t have to go out and run 10 miles or lift weights for an hour. Extra steps to work, walking the dog, and exercising while watching TV are all things someone could do to increase their daily activity.

“Easy cardio and weightlifting is a good start, and then interval training. Exercise can help fight off disease, to feel good, to relieve stress, and to prevent further progression of some diseases.”

Walking, whether around campus – inside or outside – around the neighborhood or in the park are all things Stephan Hains and Pepero would agree on. Also having balanced meals with fruits and vegetables is important.

“Students need to be wary about how much they drink,” Stephan Hains added. “If they smoke, or do any drugs; those are all detrimental to their health.”

What the campus has to offer:

* Health and Activity Program from the health center

* Facilities on campus (Fitness Center, Houston Gym)

* Free fitness classes offered on campus like Zumba, Kickboxing, and Yoga

* The Dining Hall

* Volunteer and Service-Learning Center

Stephan Hains spoke highly about the Buffalo State Health and Activity Program, which includes fitbits and tracking activity and teaches about different things someone can do in their daily lives.

The campus dining hall is a better alternative to the Retail Dining Hall.

“They have a great salad bar,” she said. “They show calorie counts and have healthy choices.”

She also recommended community engagement.

“Engaging in some sort of service will help you be a happy person,” she said. “Reaching out to the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center and asking if there is anything they could do to help the community can help a student with their well-being.”

One of Stephan Hains’ favorite quotes is by Shirley Chisholm, an African American woman who ran for president in 1972. She said it’s a quote she lives by:

“Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.”

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