Taking control of your body and mind

There are instances when 24 hours is not enough. Between taking care of children, housework and meals, finding time to exercise can seem impossible.

The path to a healthier lifestyle can feel daunting initially. Unfortunately, it is easy to let ourselves become weighed down in work and priorities, but with National Women’s Health and Fitness Day on Sept. 28 it is a good time to refocus on the importance of making healthier lifestyle choices.

Many women put their health and fitness last on their to-do list. Each woman has her own idea of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and the assumption that you need to spend hours running on a treadmill is a misconception that many women battle every day. 

“I work and take care of my two kids. It is only us, but I always try my best to work out for at least 30 minutes a day,” said 24-year-old nursing major Maria Cavazos. “I just started this fall semester, and it is not easy to make time for myself. I have to stay healthy for my kids. They are my motivation for those days I am tired.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that female caregivers have an increased risk of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Getting started on a healthier lifestyle may not be easy, but the first step is changing one’s frame of mind. 

“Having short-term goals and being realistic” helps Professor Erinn McComb. 

“Be consistent and hold yourself accountable; take baby steps,” said McComb, who has been a runner for eight years.

Many women assume that healthier options cost more, but there are still plenty of options for cutting cost without sacrificing nutrition. 

“Right now, everything is expensive” Cavazos said. “I try to purchase lots of veggies and eat them with chicken and I try to spend a day where I prepare everything for that week so it saves me time and I don’t find myself wasting money on fast food.”

Seeing celebrities and models promote an unattainable ideal of the perfect body on social media and on television may discourage many women from adopting a healthy lifestyle.

“It’s difficult to stay in shape because I see toned ladies on social media and compare myself to them; it’s frustrating and makes me want to quit,” Cavazos said.

The benefits of working out regularly and eating right do not end there. It is crucial that women keep their regular doctor’s appointments and realize the value of screening. According to the CDC, cancer is the second greatest cause of mortality among women, behind only heart disease. Pap smears, mammograms, blood pressure checks, cholesterol measurements, bone density measurements, glucose tolerance test, oral health examinations and colon cancer screenings should all be scheduled on a regular basis. 

Jennifer Avalos, a child development and early childhood major, said “taking care of ourselves must a priority.”

“It is important for us to always try our best to stay on track with our health,” Avalos said.

Student Jordan Trevino said working out at home can be achievable.

“If you are at home and don’t have time it’s all right to grab a chair. Stand straight, and do some calf raises or body squats,” said Trevino who is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.  

The CDC recommends adults engage in physical activity for at least 150 minutes each week. 

McComb even recommends turning it into an enjoyable family outing.

“Make it a family activity, it’s great to include a healthy lifestyle for children,” McComb said.

Students at Del Mar College can use the exercise facility on the Heritage Campus from 2:30-5 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 2:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Friday. 

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