Student encourages change in lifestyle

Katelyn Sim

As spring has finally surfaced, the mild weather has brought with it the reappearance of physically active. Students are now filling the campus sidewalks with elevated heart rates, perspiration on foreheads and earbuds connected to the latest upbeat pop songs. For many students, this sight resentfully sends thoughts drifting back in time a few months to New Year’s resolutions that have certainly come and gone.

But perhaps it’s not too late.

To Nicole Scott, senior in kinesiology and health, now is as opportune time as any to pick up those avoided trips to the gym, untouched salads and once again consider ways to revise unaccomplished goals to better match a healthy lifestyle. 

Nicole understands firsthand the difficulty in breaking unhealthy habits. At age 12, Nicole was admitted to the hospital with pancreatitis and informed by doctors she needed to make lifestyle changes to avoid sickness because of her high levels of cholesterol and fat.

She began packing her own lunches to monitor her nutrition and participating in sports throughout middle and high school. Nicole is now studying exercise science while balancing time commitments as a personal trainer, coach and group fitness instructor.

Of course her lifestyle changes didn’t just happen overnight and Nicole shared the struggles with college-aged habits at the dining center, not enough sleep or exercise and consumption of sugary soda and alcohol. However, two weeks into her sophomore year, she was back in the hospital again and this time it was much more painful.

 “This opened my eyes again and made me make permanent changes. The piece of advice [doctors] gave me is the healthier you are, the better chances you have to remain pain free and not develop chronic diseases because of this, and this is true for anyone,” Scott said.

Scott again began her journey toward healthier living by eating healthier lunches and participating on sports teams.

“You don’t need to make being healthy very hard. Yes, it will add a little time to your schedule but you can make it work,” Scott said. “Don’t be afraid of the dining centers, just be aware.”

But eating healthy and getting good nutrition is only half the battle; physical fitness it just as important. Scott admitted she was once afraid of the weight section at the gym, but after the encouragement of a workout partner, dared the area.  

“Physical activity isn’t something that has to be painful or miserable. Schedule that time to do some stretches, meditation, go on a run [and] lift some weights. It will take your mind off of everything you need to do and keep your mental health in check as well.”

Scott discovered a healthy lifestyle gave her better physical health, confidence, more energy and happiness as well. “It’s not just about how you look, but more about how you feel,” Scott said. “Chronic diseases are increasing in prevalence and I truly believe that being healthy can help prevent those and push them off longer.”

What’s special about Nicole is not only her value in herself and her health, but also her care for those around her as well. She has helped her own family get on track toward wellness by advice, creating meal plans and training her parents from afar.  

“Encouraging others can be tricky but always offer help,” Scott said.

Scott encourages all ISU students to take time for themselves, but to also not be afraid to encourage others. She said having a partner can make a huge difference and provides someone to hold the other accountable when life gets busy or tough.

“Anything helps and the sooner you start to develop this lifestyle, the easier and better it will be,” Scott said.