Doerzman: A body is a terrible thing to waste

Kevin Doerzman

It looks like America is becoming engulfed by the fast food industry and a sedentary lifestyle. The health of the average American is deteriorating with 36 percent of adults being obese as of 2012. There’s research that estimates that number will rise to 44 percent by 2030. Perhaps it’s time to do something about these numbers. The answer lies in taking care of oneself in the form of exercise and healthy eating.

Exercising is great and will make you feel great, too. It could be walking around the neighborhood a few times, running a mile or two on the treadmill, doing some laps in the pool, weightlifting or any mixture can have amazing benefits for your body and mind. You don’t really have to spend a ton of time working out at the gym. It’s sometimes not necessary to visit the gym; a lot of great exercises can be done at home. You’ll start to feel better physically and and mentally. Physical activity isn’t just about working your body to the bone; it’s really fun most of the time. Go for a run! The only part that might not be as much fun is the post-exercise soreness.

A healthy diet can have massively positive effects on improving the quality of one’s life. Some might think it’s difficult and expensive to buy fresh produce to get all the essential nutrients in one’s diet. However, if you portion the servings of food correctly, you should be able to sustain yourself with healthy choices without spending a lot of time and money. Buying more organic fruits and vegetables, and nontreated or grass-fed meats is a good way to avoid harmful substances that could be in your food.

While pop is tasty and refreshing, it’s also full of sugars, artificial flavorings and dyes that can be harmful to your health. Once in awhile, it isn’t a bad thing, but water, natural juice and milk are much better choices. In my high school career, we were starting to hear about schools around the country that were on the way to implementing new guidelines to ensure that the meals served would supply the students with the nutrients needed. The next thing to do would be to remove all the candy, fatty corn chips and the like from vending machines.

This problem of being unhealthy and sedentary seems to be in the head. Why spend so much time preparing a dish when you can go out and get a double cheeseburger or fried chicken? Maybe we only eat fast food so much because it’s sort of like normal behavior to us. Don’t get the wrong idea, eating out isn’t always bad, but one should shy away from eating at fast food restaurants. If anyone’s ever seen the documentary “Super Size Me,” there’s evidence that shows one in four Americans visit and consume fast food daily. According to New Scientist magazine, there’s research surfacing that fast food can cause chemical changes in your brain making it hard to stay away.

These days with the Internet, an endless supply of new video games, television and an infinite source of distractions, people might not be motivated enough to get up and exercise. I’ve known people who find out they have a serious illness as a result of poor diet and bad habits, yet they still continue with those bad habits. If serious illnesses aren’t enough to get us up off our feet and make a smart decision to better ourselves, what will be the final determinant?

Yet, with all the negatives, there are still some positives. More and more young people, along with older people, are getting active. People are becoming more educated about health and nutrition, which is great. Parents should be encouraging and learning about how to provide their families with the nutrition they need. Families should spend a lot of time doing activities outdoors to help kick-start a lifetime enjoyment of exercise and healthy eating.

If we’re all willing to make a few changes to improve our health, we could make a big difference for generations to come. Our bodies are a once-in-a-lifetime gift, literally. We should all be doing what we can to take care of them so we can keep going as long as possible. With our health and the rapid development of medical technology, it’s not crazy to think that we could live to be 100, maybe 200, years old.

Kevin Doerzman is a sophomore in psychology from Burlington, Iowa.