Thomas Jefferson

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Commit To Be Fit

Posted 05/18/2016 by Adna Adrovic

Spartans in the weight lifting class are encouraged to be active and stay healthy. photo by Javontae Jourdain

Staying active and healthy is important for teenagers in a high school environment.

In a stressful environment like high school, staying fit and healthy can be a significant challenge. With many activities and responsibilities, students may find it difficult to find the time and energy to maintain an active lifestyle. However, staying active and keeping physically healthy is critical to a student’s success, and may also lessen the mental strain that high schoolers face. Luckily, for students at Thomas Jefferson High School, there are several ways in which to stay in shape.

Why is it so hard for society to find motivation to work out? Many people consume so much food that they have no energy left to work out, which then can make them lazy. Junk food is the leading cause for obesity across America as well as the world. Hundreds and thousands of calories are piled into people’s favorite foods. People should eat between 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day, however, most people don’t track how much they eat unless they are on a strict diet. A burrito at Chipotle is about 1,000 calories, and a chicken wrap at Chick-fil-A is about 600 calories. Between these two meals, half of the suggested daily calories have already been consumed. Physical Education teacher, Brittany Penn, seeks to live a healthy life by maintaining a healthy diet. She believes that by watching one’s diet and paying attention to how important eating breakfast is, overall health will increase. “The DECA cookies students eat are 200 calories a piece; you’d have to run 20 minutes for one DECA cookie. Every time you eat those cookies it requires 40 minutes of running,” explained Penn. Penn agrees that it’s hard to stay from one’s favorite snacks, but it is important to be conscious of the amount of food being eaten.

Along with eating right, exercising is a major key to staying healthy. Even if it is just walking around, there has to be some sort of workout in one’s daily routine.  A good rule for the amount teenagers should work out is “play 60.” This means to set aside 60 minutes in a day to exercise. It does not have to be in a row; the exercises can be split up into small amounts. For students who are already busy with school but do not have time to work out, Penn advises them to “go for a walk at lunch time, don’t just sit there and play on your phone, or during an off period go around the track or go to the weight room right after school.” Not having enough time should not be an excuse for anyone. If people have time to eat, they have time to do an activity that can benefit them.

Most people have heard at least one person in their lifetime say they just do not feel like working out or that they are too lazy. Motivation is the first step to a healthy lifestyle. In order to get out of bed, there is a certain motivation behind it. Without this, businesses and schools would not have enough people to function. For students, their ambition might be to graduate and go to college, so they go to school every day and get their work done. For business workers, their drive might be to make money. Finding someone to help keep a person accountable is important for motivation. People can rely on someone to push them through the tough days when they do not want to do anything. Just having someone there to say “you’ve got this,” will help keep your motives intact.  

Setting little goals that are not far out of reach can be the first step to working out and staying motivated. “Even if something is really hard, make modifications so you can be successful,” said Penn. “If you can’t do ten burpees, let’s work on five burpees, if that’s too much, do two burpees. Having little goals creates success.” Once a person starts reaching the smaller goals, it will help keep them motivated to keep getting better.

At Thomas Jefferson High School, students have plenty of opportunities to work out. Some students admit that the only reason why they work out is because they have to do it for a grade. Sophomore Ayanna Brock said, “For the most part I don’t work out, I only work out at school during gym class.” Students have the resources to keep themselves in shape by following the protocols of their physical education teachers. The weight room is also open until 5:00 p.m., which leaves students plenty of time to get in a short workout. If a student does not like to do certain workouts, he/she has plenty of options such as joining the sports team class with Penn, where each couple of weeks class is designated to a certain sport.

Some students take working out into their own hands. Junior Trystan Kimmel motivates himself by wanting to be the best he can be in baseball. He watches his general health so that he can live a long life and not be affected by genetic family heart problems. Included with his daily workouts of lifting weights and doing cardio is maintaining a healthy diet. “My daily meals consist of protein, usually it’s a lot of meats, vegetables, all that good stuff with low carbs,” described Kimmel. Whether it is working out at school or at home, students should be able to be active for at least 60 minutes a day.

Having a positive attitude with working out will aid someone to eat better and will improve one’s general health. In order to live a healthy life, the first thing a person should focus on is what they are eating. It is okay to eat foods with high carbs, but on a daily basis people should eat more protein and less fat carbs. From running to lifting weights, a person can find a workout they like and focus on it to better their body. By following this advice, students and people in general can live a healthier life.