Sam Gilbert is a journalism sophomore and Mustang Daily health columnist.
It’s that time of the year where we go from tanning at the Recreation Center between classes to digging up our rain boots and scarves. That’s right: November is upon us.
It’s nice to have a little change in scenery every once in a while, but let’s get real, who actually wants to walk a mile to the gym in the freezing cold when you could be watching reruns of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” at home? Gregory Heath can give you a few reasons, starting with risk prevention for cardiovascular disease.
Heath — professor of health and human performance and assistant provost for research and engagement at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga — gave a presentation in the Clyde P. Fisher Science building on Oct. 25 to discuss physical activity and how imperative it is to schedule it in at least once a day.
“We wanted to emphasize physical activity and the risk factor of inactivity,” Heath said.
Adults should be getting about 150 minutes of exercise per week, while adolescents should be getting 60 minutes per day, Heath said. These are the minimum requirements of physical activity that have been proven to produce health benefits, particularly as it relates to coronary heart disease and cardiovascular health.
Heath said 75 minutes of that physical activity should be vigorous. Adults should be running, competitive cycling, hard swimming or doing other strenuous activities.
It’s important to remember the quality of physical activity versus the quantity, Heath said.
Kinesiology senior Danny O’Connell said he was surprised only 150 minutes per week could increase risk prevention for diseases.
“That’s good then, because I feel like a good majority of students work out more than that,” O’Connell said.
The 150 and 60-minute guidelines are a systematic review by an advisory committee, Heath said. It’s even better to exercise more than this minimum.
As a college student, you’re transitioning out of adolescence, Heath said. I would say 150 to 300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity should be what a college student should try to achieve.
Heath discussed the importance of creating a routine early on, especially during freshman year.
“I think every college student should strive for building a habit early on so that when you graduate you can continue that,” Heath said.
It’s important to reinforce that message throughout campus, Heath said.
Jane Hurley, A-Team and FLASH study program manager of STRIDE, said social media and social influence play a big part in encouraging physical activity.
“Adding that social element and really fostering that is something that I see at Cal Poly,” Hurley said.
STRIDE will plan and host events to go hiking or be active and do things on campus, Hurley said.
There are about four levels of influence to increase physical activity: individual, social, environmental and national level factors, Heath said.
Technology can actually improve fitness as a social factor.
There are cell phone apps that can help you track, stay motivated and connect with people, Hurley said.
There is an app called SparkPeople where one can write down goals and then log and track minutes, workouts and eating, as well as post to a forum to connect with others, Hurley said.
Physical activity is more than just going to the gym or playing a sport. It’s the little things, such as walking to class or spending more time being active that can make a big difference.
San Luis Obispo has made improvements to the infrastructure to promote physical activity, Hurley said. Things like wider sidewalks and what might typically be used in other urban developments.
There’s even access to an entire street that’s dedicated to bike traffic, which makes it easy to get across town while still being active, Hurley said.
Cal Poly has a pretty active campus compared to other schools because everyone walks and there are so many hills, so we get more exercise than we actually think, O’Connell said.
Heath’s discussion made it very clear physical activity has a bigger impact on the body than we thought. The temperatures may be dropping, but we’re still being active by dancing in the rain.