By: Cody McGhee
WARNING: Eating right and daily exercise may become addicting. Side effects include: looking good, feeling good, and doing good.
Exercising and living a healthy lifestyle is life altering. Four Kennesaw State students, all with different stories, are great examples of this.
“It almost becomes a part of you,” Blake Sydnor said. “Like brushing your teeth or taking a shower”.
Sydnor, a junior at KSU, lives a healthy lifestyle for many reasons. Growing up seeing his dad and sister making healthy life choices, Sydnor used them as motivation to get his fitness on track.
“I was upset with myself and how I felt,” Sydnor said. “I was a very small petite dude.”
Living healthy can increase your energy throughout the day, help improve your physique, gain close friends and change the mentality you look at everyday life with. Being healthy does not just consist of lifting weights or exercising. It consists of eating right, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, keeping a positive mentality, all on top of exercise. Adding all of these components together can change the way you feel and live life.
“There was a time where I was exercising but I was still living the same lifestyle of not getting enough sleep, I wasn’t eating healthy,” Sydnor said. “Yeah I was seeing changes in the gym because your body naturally, with the resistance of the weights in the gym, it naturally puts on the muscle. But when I started eating healthy, and getting the sleep, and changing my mentality, I reaped more benefits.”
In a time where everything is fast-paced and attention spans are at an all-time low, many people crave instant results. Lifestyle change is not something that comes overnight, it is something that is worked on and gradually built upon through habit.
“The biggest misconception is the dedication it takes,” Sydnor said. “I think a lot of people go into it with a very lenient mentality. They might think that they’re going to see improvements too soon and it doesn’t work like that.”
Bailey Shey Morris is another Kennesaw State student who learned how to live a healthy lifestyle through her family. Unlike Sydnor, Morris takes her fitness to another level by competing in bodybuilding competitions.
Although Morris competes in competitions, her mentality towards fitness is similar to Sydnor’s. To Morris, being healthy and competing is all about bettering oneself.
“I do it because I feel the need to push my body to a point where I can’t physically take it anymore,” Morris said.
Pushing your body to its breaking point is not something everyone is used to, it takes a lot of mental toughness.
“More than a physical standpoint, it’s your mental stability,” Morris said. “It’s taught me maturity, discipline, and how to push myself and I think that’s my biggest accomplishment.”
Developing good habits creates a healthy mentality that can cross over into many aspects of life, not just fitness. Marco Silva, a personal trainer at the Betty L. Siegel Student Recreation Center, gained confidence through fitness that helped him in other parts of life.
“I believe that when you make fitness a part of your everyday life there are many mental changes that occur, one of which is an increase in your self-efficacy,” Silva said. “When you achieve a new personal record or accomplish a difficult goal, there is an amazing connection that occurs between your mind and your body. People become stronger not just physically but mentally as well.”
Self-efficacy is connected to self-confidence and the belief that you gain control over certain situations. Having this self-efficacy has helped Silva in relationships with new people, communicating between his personal training clients, and also in his schoolwork.
“When you believe in yourself enough to lift a heavy weight or run a certain distance, you start to believe in yourself in other areas as well,” Silva said.
Another mental positive that is tied to fitness is memory improvement. Wade Hoffstetter, an exercise science major at Kennesaw State, believes a happy body is a happy mind.
“I used to have below average short-term memory,” Hoffstetter said. “Ever since I’ve started exercising regularly and eating healthy my neural plasticity has improved a ton.”
Good health improves your lifestyle in all phases, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
“Living a healthy lifestyle is making good decisions in and out of the gym,” Hoffstetter said. “Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, taking the stairs when able to, parking further from the door, and exercising are all aspects of living a healthy lifestyle.”
Adopting new habits and a new lifestyle isn’t easy, it takes time. Actually starting, staying consistent, and finding ways to fit health into your own schedule is key. If fitness is not convenient and fun, it will seem like a chore.
“Living a healthy lifestyle is so much more than just going to the gym,” Silva said. “It’s all about finding a routine or an activity that you enjoy and can incorporate to your daily life. If you keep an open mind, the possibilities are endless.”