This week we're kicking off a three-part series on the "Ins and Outs of Fitness" — written by another incredible HWH intern -- to inspire you to get moving! A senior in kinesiology, Lauren Barry came to me wanting to learn more about nutrition, as she aspires to train future clients and motivate them toward overall health. She knew that nutrition was just as important as exercise in achieving wellness goals but, like most people, she was a bit confused by all the (mis)information out there on how to best approach food. Each week, Lauren presented as an earnest student, eager to learn, and posed in-depth questions, some of which required further investigations on my part. In the process, she probably taught me as much as I did her!
As a kinesiology major, Lauren has studied the mechanics of body movements, and is a soon-to-be expert in the field of exercise science. I can think of no one better qualified to write a guest post on fitness than Lauren, not only because of her knowledge, but also because she lives out what she preaches and hasn't always been the picture of "fit". Her experience as an overweight child developed a fiery passion in her to make a difference in the lives of people through physical fitness.
Over the next three days, Lauren will share:
- What exactly is fitness, including the many benefits of moving your body
- How fit we should be to optimize health
- Her personal approach to exercise and fitness
Take it away, Lauren!
I am a student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe studying kinesiology, the movement of the body. I have had a broad range of experiences in the fitness world: I’ve seen myself through thick and thin, but in recent years I’ve been lucky enough to see myself strong as well. As a kinesiology student who has been in-house personal training certified, in-house children’s yoga certified, and through various stages of “fit”, I am overjoyed to be able to share what fitness means to me, what it can do for you, and how it can fit into your lifestyle and interests.
What is Fitness?
Cassey Ho, the fitness guru behind the YouTube channel Blogilates, is known for promoting positive body image throughout her program. Ho stated, “I know that a lot of people begin getting into exercise if they want to lose weight or change their body. There's nothing wrong with that. What ends up becoming a problem is when people work out only for the sole purpose of physical vanity to create happiness and a sense of self-worth…. It's important that on your fitness journey, you dig deep to find joy in working out”.
To me, physical fitness is the ability to move one’s body to improve the performance of the body, the mind, and understanding of oneself. Physical fitness is one of the most underappreciated and underutilized methods to maintain or improve health, antidepressants, and challenges that has been given to us. It is a tool that allows us to sculpt our minds (to prove to ourselves “I can!”), to overcome the obstacles that we never thought we could, and to reinvent who we are. Physical fitness can redefine what it means to move and be in harmony with oneself by regulating hormones, improving confidence, and helping maintain a relaxed mental state.
The Benefits of Exercise
So, what is required? Consistency.
By investing moderate amounts of time and energy into a workout, you can gain a vast amount of benefits. The American Heart Association advises 150 minutes of moderate-vigorous activity each week. Performing the advised amount of exercise and physical activity can provide a variety of benefits. It decreases the risk of developing:
- heart disease
- type 2 diabetes
- some forms of cancer
Exercise can also help:
- Lower blood pressure, risk of falling, risk of cognitive decline and dementia
- Improve lipoprotein profile, c-reactive protein, and other heart disease biomarkers
- Enhance insulin sensitivity
- Aid in weight management
- Preserve bone mass
- Prevent or improve mild to moderate depressive disorders and anxiety
- Improve energy levels, well-being, quality of life, and cognitive function
We could all use a little bit more energy and clarity. Even when I don’t want to work out and am feeling tired, I try to remind myself that a workout is a reward. It gives me the energy and mindset that I deserve.
Now that we know what fitness is and the many wonderful things it does for the body, tomorrow we'll learn just how "fit" we should be in the "Ins and Outs of Fitness: Part 2". Until then!
Throughout her life, Lauren has experienced a range of body types and has learned the strength, power, and vulnerability that each new shape may bring. She hopes to graduate from ULM, then train and teach youth and adults about the importance of internal health and mental well-being with physical activity and nature. Lauren enjoys long naps on the beach, assisting her sisters in cooking new recipes (then eating most of it), and exploring the wild.