by Emily Yao:
My schedule is just like Rebecca Black’s: 7 a.m. waking up in the morning, gotta get fresh, gotta go downstairs. But instead of getting a bowl of cereal, I head off to the gym, where I do an hour of training. Afterwards, I bike to and from school and when I arrive home, I do a few Pilates workouts. Over the weekends, I have time for additional workout classes.
Sounds a bit torturous, right? Not at all. For me, physical activity is an important component of my life. Being the stereotypical overachiever, I am unable to make time for team sports. As a result, the free time I have on my hands is spent going to the gym. You may wonder why I don’t spend this time sleeping. Truth is, I can’t.
Since I was eight years old, I have been waking up early to do sports. From third to eighth grade, I was a competitive figure skater, waking up as early as 5 a.m. to go to skating practice before and after school. On top of that, I had off-ice training to make my muscles strong.
When I quit competitive figure skating in eighth grade, I had trouble going back to a “normal” sleeping schedule. My life felt empty because I had focused most of my energy on skating, and having to suddenly eliminate it was a difficult transition. Thus, I started going to my local gym, hoping it would serve as a replacement.
Exercising in the morning has improved my performance in school. Surprisingly, the days I go to the gym help me stay awake in class and start my day off on a happy note. Even if it does not play significant role in your life, physical activity should still be done daily.
[pullquote]Exercising in the morning has improved my performance in school. Surprisingly, the days I go to the gym help me stay awake in class and start my day off on a happy note. Even if it does not play significant role in your life, physical activity should still be done daily.
Many students who are not on a sports team believe that after they complete Physical Education (P.E.) class, they are not required to do any form of physical activity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that involvement in physical activity decreases as the grade in school increases, and this could lead to heart disease and high blood pressure. Thus, even though only underclassmen are required to take P.E., it is still important to do some sort of physical activity as an upperclassman.
The most common misconception is that if you do not have time for sports, then you can put off any form physical activity. However, the consequence of this attitude is a sedentary lifestyle, which could lead to serious health problems. Not convinced yet?
In sixth grade, my father was diagnosed with cancer. During my childhood, he was a couch potato, spending most of his time watching television. The doctors believed this was one of the main causes of his cancer. While I was not the one diagnosed, the whole experience made me realize how important it is to be healthy. I learned a lot from my father’s habits and from watching him change them and become healthy. My decision to exercise at the gym in the mornings was mostly influenced by him.
So, being a busy high schooler, is it possible to incorporate physical activity into your schedule? The answer is, of course! Even the simplest activities can help you be healthy. For example, instead of driving to school every day, bike when the weather is nice. If you live in a multi-story apartment building, take the stairs. What ever you do, as long as you work towards consistently finding time for physical activity, then you are doing the right thing. As poet Marcus Valerius Martialis puts it, “Life is not merely being alive, but being well.”