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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Dallas Wiertella
Dallas Wiertella
Multimedia Editor

Through my experience here at the North Wind I have been able to have the privilege of highlighting students through all forms of multimedia journalism. Whether I'm in front or behind the camera, I aim...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Sal Wiertella March 1, 2024

Getting in shape

When I visited my doctor last November for my yearly checkup, he informed me that, at the young age of 22, I was beginning to develop cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis is a disease typically found in alcoholics, where scarring of the liver occurs.

This all came as a surprise to me since I have never been much of a drinker. What was more worrisome was that this was caused by copious amounts of Dr. Pepper, hot dogs and Chinese buffets.

My doctor told me if I didn’t do something about my worsening health, I could face some serious consequences as a result. And so I decided to do what millions of Americans try to do every year: Lead a healthier lifestyle.

Over the course of the last few months, I’ve incorporated many positive changes into my life. And not only have I put my body on a healthier path, but I’ve managed to lose 50 pounds in the process.

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But in a society obsessed with the latest health and fitness trends, real, beneficial information can easily get lost.

Learning to Eat Healthier

According to registered dietitian Sherri Rule, what we eat now can affect us in both the short-term and the long-term.

“If someone is eating a lot of sweets, you’re not feeding your body the right way,” Rule said.

With diets that tend to be loaded with pizza and beer, Rule says students have to worry about more than just the dreaded “freshman fifteen.”

“(Weight gain) can be a set up for diabetes,” she said, adding that the potential health risks only get worse. “I don’t know if you’re ever too young to have heart disease.”

Rule strongly suggests that those who live an unhealthy lifestyle can begin living a healthier one by eating in moderation. The more you moderate the unhealthy aspects of your diet, such as soda (both regular and diet), bad carbohydrates and sweets, the more of a positive impact it will have on your health.

When seemingly every product on store shelves is loaded with all sorts of unnatural chemicals and preservatives, those striving for good health need to be aware of two potentially hazardous ingredients that find their way into just about everything, from red apples to wheat bread: Pesticides and high fructose corn syrup.

Rule says the best way to avoid pesticides is to buy your fruits and vegetables fresh from the organic section of the grocery store or from a farmers’ market. She added that food treated with pesticides could have long-term consequences on the body.

But due to its buzzword status, organic food can be expensive. If you’re on a limited budget, Rule recommends this money saving tip – only buy organic fruits and vegetables with a thin skin, such as tomatoes or apples, because the pesticides will penetrate the skin and actually become absorbed into the fruit. Fruits such as bananas and watermelon are safe to buy from larger retail chains because the pesticide cannot penetrate the thicker skin.

But pesticides are no longer a mindful shopper’s only concern. According to Health, Physical Education and Recreation Professor Mohey Mowafy, high fructose corn syrup is another danger of which students need to be weary.

“It’s another freak of nature,” Mowafy said, adding that high levels of high fructose corn syrup have been linked to a disease called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance, a disease in which normal amounts of insulin are inadequate to produce a typical insulin response, is a known factor of obesity, diabetes and inflammation of blood vessels, which can cause many more serious problems later in life.

Some simple ways, Mowafy explains, to get around both pesticides and high fructose corn syrup is to eat food that’s as natural as possible.

“Both bread and Twinkies are made of flour,” Mowafy said, “but one is real food. Try as much as possible to consume food as close to its natural state.”

But as important as healthy eating is, a well balanced diet is only half the battle. Exercising is just as important as the meal you have for dinner.

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs

Ever since the Atkins diet, many have began reducing their intake of carbohydrates, some going as far as to completely cut them out of the picture. But Rule says this is not a healthy practice.

“Carbohydrates are a preferred energy source of the brain,” Rule said.

However, Rule recommends that people know the difference between good carbs and bad carbs. Below are some examples of good sources of carbs, as well as some bad sources.

Good Carbs: Whole grains, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables

Bad Carbs: Sugars, high fructose corn syrup, cake, cookies, candy bars

Reccommended Books & Films

For those interested in learning more about living a healthy lifestyle, or to learn exactly where your food comes from, the following is a brief, but informative, list of reading and viewing materials that will help expand your knowledge on the issues.

Literature

“The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” by Mike Pollan, is a look into the world of food which defines once and for all what counts as healthy food and what doesn’t.

“In Defense of Food,” by Mike Pollan, discusses the importance of not only eating healthy food but how to cook and prepare healthy it.

“Rethinking Thin,” by Gina Kolata, examines Americans’ unhealthy obsession with looking thin, and their potentially dangerous habit of ignoring their health.

Film

“Eating,” a film by Henry Jaglom, looks at how people focus more on how they look and ignore their health in the process.

“King Corn,” a documentary by college graduates Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, is about the corn industry and how corn is heavily integrated into our food.

The Benefits of Exercise

For many, the thought of exercise conjures up images of a sore back and strained muscles. But exercise doesn’t need to be painful, and considering how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, knowing how to do it without injuring yourself is very important.

According to Professor Mohey Mowafy, exercising is about more than just working up a sweat: It’s necessary for the body.

“We are designed to be on the move,” Mowafy said. “If our muscles don’t move a lot, our metabolism is out of whack.”

If you don’t already work out, Mowafy stresses speaking with your doctor since there may be unknown health problems that could cause some serious trouble if you put too much strain on the body.

If you’ve already talked to your doctor and received the go-ahead, you can start working out. But as anyone who’s ever walked into a gym can attest to, it can be very daunting. Also, if you don’t know how all the equipment works, you could injure yourself.

Junior Brigitte Brown, who is studying dietetics, says the best way to ease yourself into a workout routine is to do what you already know and love.

“Do something that you enjoy,” Brown said. “If it’s something that you like, you’re more apt to stay with it.”

Brown recommends stretching and warming up before working out, and a great way to do that is through yoga.

“It’s low impact and you can do it anywhere,” she said. “I do it either before or after a run.”

For people who are looking for a more intense workout, most gyms offer group exercises. Brown said many people use group exercises to help motivate themselves.

“You’ll push yourself more if people are around,” she said.

However, it’s important to not over exert yourself.

“Push yourself, but listen to your body,” Brown said.

If you’re not yet ready to run on the treadmill, there is another exercise that Brown says people need to do more often – walking.

“I would advocate walking over running,” she said. “Before there was any transportation, we walked. It’s what we were built to do.”

Lastly, many people go to gyms for strength training. When it comes to weight lifting, Brown recommends taking it easy.

“Low weight, lots of reps,” she said, adding that there is no added health benefit to having bulkier muscles than there is to having leaner muscles.

Good health is the key to living a good life. But at the end of the day, the goal is not to look like some of Hollywood’s brightest stars, as Mowafy said, but to live happier and longer lives.

“The idea is not to be perfect,” he said, “but to be healthier.”

Working Out in Marquette

There are a variety of different gyms and health clubs in Marquette, many of them offering NMU students a discoutned rate, as well as group exercises and a wealth of aerobic activities. Below is a list of gyms, all within walking distance of campus.

Joe’s Gym

150 W Spring St.

228-5661

Rates vary by month. One month is $33, two is $60, three is $80, four is $95, six is $145, 12 is $230.

MKPT

910 Wright St.

228-2233

$29.99 per month for students and includes group exercise programs such as step class, spinning class (indoor biking, similar to Tour de France in uphill/racing) and weight lifting class.

Physical Education And Instructional Facility (PEIF)

NMU Campus

227-2519

Rates vary depending on student’s number of credits. For students with six or more credits a membership is $65 per semester or $120 for the Fall and Winter semesters. For a student with three to five credits its $85 per semester and students with one to two credits it’s the cost of the resident’s fee.

Tourville North Health Club

910 Lincoln Ave.

228-9284

Rates are $25 per month. The facility includes an indoor pool with water aerobics classes. Students can stop by the main office and get a free day pass to check out the gym.

Tourville West Health Club

1538 W Ridge St.

228-7700

Rates are $25 per month or $5 for a day pass. Aerobic classes are offered, as well as other programs. For more information on either Tourville North or West, visit tourvilles.com.

YMCA

1420 Pine St.

227-9622

There is a $45 joining fee for new members. The NMU student discount is $23 per month for full time students. This includes free group exercises. The YMCA does offer other paid programs. Those who are interested can visit ymcamqt.org to learn more.

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