Students and professors get in shape, stay in shape during National Healthy Weight Awareness Month

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by Aaron Rhodes

Staff Reporter

arhodes2@stumail.jccc.edu 

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Deborah Bowers, fitness center monitor and instructor. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.

As our readers may know, January is National Healthy Weight Awareness Month. This event pairs nicely with the fact that January is the month when people hit the gyms in an attempt to stick to their New Year’s resolutions of exercising more and getting in shape.

One of the places that some of these new fitness enthusiasts visit is the campus fitness center. While the center isn’t filled with newcomers (there are plenty of workout veterans in attendance), it’s often easy to spot them. Deborah Bowers is a fitness center monitor and instructor here at the college. She said she has seen a new batch of people coming in and learning to use the equipment. If there is one thing that new exercisers do, Bowers said, it is overexert themselves.

“They push themselves too hard too fast … If they haven’t worked out in many, many months or years and then they go right back to it like they’re 18 again, then your body can kind of rebel a little bit at you for that. You’ve got to take it easy. You have to listen to your body.”

Nursing student and frequent visitor to the fitness center Jacklyne Manuel told us she sometimes sees quite the opposite from new members.

“I’ll see people walking about two miles per hour on a treadmill while watching Netflix and concentrating on Netflix and not working out,” she said.

Manuel enjoys working on cardio exercises in the fitness center.

“I’m in nursing school, and I always think about the heart and my muscles being healthier,” said Manuel. “… [I want] to get to a healthy weight and maintain it.”

Brandee Smith, an adjunct instructor, has her own reasons for staying in shape.

“I am here because I’m a mom and I want to stay strong so that I can be able to take care of my boys if I need to sometime,” Smith said. “… There’s always medical emergencies. I’ve been places where somebody’s had a seizure or something and you want to be able to help move them, so you don’t feel helpless. You want to be helpful. You can’t do that when you’re weak.”

On the subject of National Healthy Weight Awareness month, Smith stated she thinks America doesn’t always view health and weight in the right way.

“I think it needs to be more an issue of ‘It’s not a number, it’s how you feel at the end of the day.’ If you feel sluggish or feel unhappy, or feel these emotional feelings, just try working out for 20 minutes. I used to not be able to run even a mile, and now I can do a 5K. Now I can run faster than some track runners at times, so you know, I just worked my way up.”

Health and weight are both multi-faceted subjects. Some people put minimal thought into them, while others have their lives revolve around them. Whether you jump on the treadmill on a regular basis or wait to think about exercise until you’re wheezing climbing the stairs to the third floor of the Carlsen Center, fitness is something that plays an immense role in our lives as students and as humans in general.

“Really, it’s not a race. It’s kind of a marathon, working out,” Smith said with a laugh.

 

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