By: Mike Morris
Students need to get more physical activity to avoid the risk of severe health problems said the fitness coordinator at Loyalist College last Thursday.
Cory Mestre said too many young people are making poor lifestyle choices.
A study released last week by Public Health Ontario determined there are five health hazards that are killing 60% of people in Ontario. It said smoking, alcohol, stress, poor nutrition and lack of exercise are factors. People can gain up to seven more year’s life expectancy if they address these problems.
“I wouldn’t put blame or anything on young people,” Mestre said. “But I would say, overall, we’re becoming as a society more and more sedentary, as our life styles become more ingrained to having electronics constantly in our hands or in front of our faces.”
He said because of increased use of electronic devices people are doing less physical activity. He said participation in sports and general free play is declining rapidly. Mestre added public schools are increasing physical activity, and that people in the age range of 15-30 years old are notably lacking exercise.
“Well it’s difficult because you’re trying to break habits,” he said. “If people are used to always having their smartphones in their hands, or their Xbox controllers and TVs in front of them, it’s hard to entice them with other things. If opportunities are provided, if there’s extrinsic motivational factors that are there to help people feel good about getting out and being active, people come around to it.”
Mestre said there are a lot of positive things that come from disconnecting from the electronics a little bit and reconnecting with physical activity, something the study urges people to do.
Lauren Deans, the nurse at Loyalist College, said people often reflect the physical lifestyle of their parents.
“I do believe you have to start with the parents first, or the guardians,” she said. “If we can get the parents and the guardians living a healthy life, living a healthy lifestyle, then that will be shown to their children.”
This does not only apply to exercise, but also to bad habits.
“Children learn what they see,” Mestre said. “Just like parents who smoke are more likely to have children who pick up smoking as a habit. Kids learn what they see.”
He said that there are a lot of people on campus who use the fitness center. Over half of the student population activated their fitness center membership, he said.
Shane Beehler, a first-year student of the Television and New Media Program, said he only drinks alcohol in moderation. He also said he takes nutrition very seriously, doesn’t smoke, is not under any significant stress, and exercises frequently.
“I just try to do it moderately,” Beehler said. “I don’t do it so much that it affects me, that it affects my health.”
Cory Buskard, also in the same year and the same class, said he does not drink alcohol excessively and exercises regularly.
“I think I exercise too much, sometimes,” he said.
Consuming good food is another way to beat the odds.
“If you’re not fueling your body with good sources of nutrition then you’re not going to feel good,” he said. “Your body’s not gonna function great, and you’re not gonna be feeling, at all, like you’re wanting to be active. If you eat cheap, fast junk food, you’re going to feel like junk.”