The Common Sense Approach to a Healthy Lifestyle

As a professor of wellness and exercise science, I am constantly pushing the common sense approach to a healthy lifestyle.  Unfortunately for my students, “common sense” and today’s lifestyle do not always go hand-in-hand.

In a world where a high school student’s resume includes AP Everything, Honors and every extracurricular under the sun, it’s frightening how little some college students know about basic physical health and nutrition.

For example:

Student:  Whats the point of doing cardio if you only want muscles and you don’t want to loose weight?

Prof. Murphy: umm….your heart is a muscle too….

Student:  oh….

I try to provide my students with skills that transcend a gym membership.  I make it clear that being healthy and active doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and a half-hour sweat session today may save you the cost of a hospital bill down the road.  I’m not sure if I’m always successful in driving home my message….but I’ve decided to take the “rolling-of-the-eyes” and the “making-sure-the-clock-isn’t-broken” as a positive sign.

Teaching the basics of healthy eating is a WHOLE different story.  By basic, I mean the following:

  • Anything that falls under “energy drink” – probably not the best choice.
        • The “X-hour” energy commercials are not based on medical research
        • Take a nap or drink a glass of cold water instead.
  • Anything promising “rapid weight loss”…in a pill form… NOT a good idea
        • Unless prescribed by an individual with an “M.D.” after their name
  • If you can’t pronounce it, limit your intake of it.
        • Maltodextrin or Monosodium Glutamate anyone?
  • Hunger Cues — Everyone has them…Use them!
        • These are the body’s physical signals of hunger, fullness and appetite.
        • Most people eat or continue eating when they aren’t hungry.
        • Perhaps, the best diet on the market is free.
  • The majority of your diet should not come in a powder form (protein shakes?)

My message about nutrition goes against the major diet trend. In geral, commercial diets are expensive methods that provide a short-term solution to a lifestyle problem.  Do I really have to eat a sandwich from the same store – EVERY DAY – just to loose weight?  No.  Pack a lunch, break the cycle.

Well, at least I have science on my side:

The Link between Fast Food and Depression <- Article link

The study demonstrates that those participants who eat the most fast food and commercial baked goods are more likely to be single, less active and have poor dietary habits, which include eating less fruit, nuts, fish, vegetables and olive oil. Smoking and working more than 45 hours per week are other prevalent characteristics of this group.


Just one more reason why a healthy diet and exercise (SWIMMING!) is a good idea.

Keep on Swimming,

Coach Meg

Leave a Reply