According to Kami Waden, the assistant director of fitness and wellness at the Robert H. Ewalt Student Recreation Center, students should look no further than the gym when attempting to relieve stress.
Waden said the benefits of a healthy lifestyle far outweigh the negative effects that can result from being unhealthy. She said there are both mental and physical benefits from working out.
“Depending on your goals and what you want to do – you can maintain your weight, lose weight, actually even gain weight through muscle mass,” Waden said. “You need to work out physically just for the purpose of having a healthy life and sleeping well at night.”
Waden said working out increases a person’s energy level and metabolism. She said students especially need these benefits in their lives in order to cope with the high stress levels they experience on a consistent basis.
“The mental side leads to the stress aspect of it,” she said. “It helps us relieve stress and stay focused, and I think it helps us to be successful overall.”
Waden said she often observes the student body in order to assess the overall health of Tech students. She said she thinks the health of the student body as a whole seems ok, but she is concerned with the generations to come.
Waden said something students don’t think about is the fact that many businesses take the health of their potential employees into consideration.
“A lot of businesses are looking at people physically,” she said, “and if you’re obese, they more than likely are not going to hire you.”
She said this is because of insurance and the fact that health issues are usually inevitable for obese individuals.
Waden said companies are not allowed to discriminate based on appearance, but they can come up with other reasons not to hire someone if obesity is one of their concerns.
“People don’t want to associate obesity with a lot of diseases that are out there,” she said, “but I guarantee you when people start to get on a healthy track and they do start to lose weight, and they lose that fat that is surrounding all of their organs and making it hard for their heart to operate, they find out that they feel a lot better.”
She said obesity could also have negative effects on people’s social lives.
“We’re all very conscious of how we look, especially with society and magazines and everyone telling us how we should look,” she said. “There is a huge mental and social aspect that comes into play where you start to believe that you’re not good enough and obesity often can lead to depression.”
Waden said she understands that some people will be larger than others due to genetics and other factors. She said when people become obese though, it is usually a result of lack of self-control regarding exercise and a healthy diet.
She said genetics can play a part in obesity, but it accounts for a small percentage.
“Depression can easily set in,” she said. “It’s a domino effect. You’re tired, you don’t want to be around anybody, you sleep, sit on the couch and watch TV. It reduces social interaction.”
Waden said the Rec Center offers several ways for students to exercise and reach their fitness goals. She said Raider X group fitness classes are offered for free and personal training at the recreation center is relatively inexpensive.
“These classes are great for people who don’t really know where to start,” she said. “You might mentally be ready and have that desire, but you don’t know what to do.”
“Our Raider X and Raider X2 classes are really fantastic because you have an instructor and you have someone who is going to work you out,” she said. “You might be in a group and you might be in the back but if you just show up and keep showing up you’ll get a fantastic workout.”
Waden said she thinks the choice to get fit ultimately comes down to having a positive attitude.
Nicole Deanda, a junior exercise and sports science major, said she teaches several Raider X classes at the Rec Center. She said the health problems she has seen on her dad’s side of her family inspired her to become passionate about fitness.
“I think you are what you put into your body, and that’s why I do my best to take care of myself,” Deanda said. “I really love seeing people’s self confidence build up and that’s probably one of the most rewarding things – to know that you helped them reach the point that they wanted to be at.”
By Morgan Crump
Contributed to The Hub by Jour 3312