World wide fitness trends may help ward off freshman 15

Giovanna Rajao

The average gym-goer quits after just six months, either for not having enough time in their busy schedules or for not seeing results that satisfy them for the effort they’re putting in.

A 2009 study showed that nearly one in four freshmen gain at least 5 percent of their body weight — an average of 10 pounds — during their first semester in college.

“I don’t like to workout all the time because it’s time consuming and sometimes the workouts are boring,” said Calie Nicole Wallace, freshman in elementary education.

“Sometimes the gym is extremely packed and it’s hard to focus on your workout,” said Teegan Ebenhoh, freshman in pre-business.

Wallace said she has different workout DVDs in her dorm room, that she exercises to when she is unwilling to lift weights at the gym.

Many people become tired of treadmills and fitness equipment, and look for different approaches to losing weight.

“I try to walk to class instead of taking the bus, as a way to compensate not going to the gym in a frequent basis,” said Clarissa Herrick, sophomore in sociology.

Megan Greenhalgh, freshman in family and consumer science education and studies, decided to change her eating habits as apposed to trying different workouts when she wasn’t losing as much weight as she wanted to.

“I’m starting to eat much better than I did last semester, because I don’t work out as much I should. I’m starting to eat steamed vegetables, and I try to replace drinking pop as often as I can,” said Greenhalgh.

Whether it means engaging in risky diets, chewing gum excessively or going to the extreme by simply not eating, people in America — especially college students — seem willing to take the extra mile in order to lose the extra pound.

Certain populations have the tendency of being thinner than others, as a result of cultural habits that are incorporated in their lifestyle.

The tendency of remaining slim in most countries in Asia and Europe is associated primarily to food habits rather than exercise.

Green tea is a healthy gateway not only to burn fat, but to accelerate weight loss. It has been a part of the Chinese culture for many centuries; it contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that increases the heart rate and stimulates the nervous system, increasing the metabolism rate. Drinking tea is one of the trends used by the Chinese to regulate their health.

“I began drinking green tea a couple of years ago because not only does it keep me hydrated, but it is beneficial to my health,” said Kristen Daily, freshman in world languages and cultures.

Tai Chi Chuan or Tai Chi, is a Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. It is a slow-moving, meditative exercise designed for relaxation and self-defense. Tai Chi has grown in popularity in the United States as a safe, low-impact exercise that can be practiced alone or in a group. Many practitioners of Tai Chi believe it improves their fitness level, physical health and emotional well-being.

Despite the social pressure to be skinny in China, the Chinese live by the popular adage “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a beggar.” Eating a good breakfast every morning aids the metabolism process to start kicking early in the day. For lunch, the Chinese consume sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables, carbohydrates and protein to ensure a balanced health. Eating little for dinner prevents the body of gaining unnecessary weight, as we do not need much energy at the end of the day. Their diet consists of mainly vegetables, fruits, rice and noodles. They also eat a lot of fish, and avoid red meat.

The acai berry, which is native to Central and South America, recently became known internationally. The acai berry is filled with vitamins and minerals that can assist in weight loss, building muscle and increasing overall energy. It is rich in antioxidants, fatty acids, fiber and other plant compounds that can improve health.

Capoeira is a Brazilian art form that combines elements of dance, martial arts and gymnastics to create a highly aerobic, total-body workout that increases strength, agility and coordination. Established hundreds of years ago by African slaves on Brazil’s plantations, Capoeira is a way to stay fit while dancing to the sound of berimbaus, a single-string percussion instrument.

Japan, in addition to being ranked in the top-10 countries with the healthiest food, was ranked in 2010 as one of the healthiest countries in the world, along with Sweden, Germany and Iceland.

The Japanese eat fish as an important part of their diet. Fish contains an essential fatty acid, omega three, that helps increase the metabolism and reduce cholesterol level.

They also live by the Okinawan cultural habit hara hachi bu, which means to eat until you are 80 percent full. One of the best weight-loss strategies that comes from the Japanese is starting each meal with a soup, especially vegetable broth. Although the Japanese do not exercise as much as Americans, they maintain an active lifestyle by walking a lot.

The Japanese culture is famously known for its enormous variety of martial arts, and though they are traditions of training for fighting and self-defense, they have gained popularity for being a great total body workout. Aikido for example, is a physical training that involves general physical fitness and conditioning, as well as specific techniques.

The Cyclone Martial Arts Club promotes the martial arts of taekwondo, judo and hapkido within the ISU community.

The heavy use of spice in cuisine from India, Malaysia and Thailand work not only to add flavor to their exotic meals, but it also contributes to fat-burning. The spiciness of the food lowers ingestion and prevents overeating. Turmeric, which is one of the main spices in curry, is believed by researchers from Tufts University to suppress fat tissue growth and increase fat-burning. Most Indian and South-East Asian cuisines use capsaicin spices such as red chilli, ginger and black pepper. The use of such spices causes a rise in the body temperature, accelerated heart rate and increase in the metabolism.

In the Middle East and the Mediterranean, 
olive oil is used as the basis of regional cuisine. Healthy oils and fats include nuts, flax seed and fish oil, which increase the metabolism and help the process of weight loss.

Belly dancing continues to be one of the most practiced and most popular aerobic workouts in the Middle East. It combines elements of Turkish and Egyptian belly dancing that strengthens the hips, buttocks, thighs and abdominals. Belly dancing has remained a popular dance and exercise form not only in America, but also around the world.

Whether it’s eating better, or trying a different workout, the choices you make in regards to your body reflect on your health, digestion, energy and love for life.