It’s summer: Stay active and eat well

Published: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 2:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 2:29 p.m.

I have always known the value of engaging in good exercise and the excellent benefits it has for healthy living.

For the past 12 years or so, I have held a membership at one of the local fitness centers, which I have been marginally active in attendance. When I’m there getting a good workout, it is always a tremendous feeling of gratification and accomplishment once I’m done. On those days that I make excuses not to work out, I feel guilty. There are times when I make excuses that my work schedule will not allow me to do a daily 30-minute workout, which is not exactly the truth all of the time. For the past few weeks, instead of going to the fitness center, I have been walking around my office complex. I make it a point to walk this distance at least three times in a working day.

Recently, I expanded my walk to the downtown area of Gainesville. I’ve discovered things about our city that I was not aware of before now, such as talking meters to cross the street, the hustle and bustle of the downtown traffic, young executives briskly walking to make appointments, pigeons walking and flapping about, birds chirping, aromas escaping from restaurants and the large buses making their way to their various destinations.

And the walking has been very good for me. Since I started, I have lost 20 pounds. I have become much more disciplined in my efforts to become the healthiest person I can be. I must pause here and thank Karol Norris, one of my colleagues, who sends out inspirational messages daily for people to get out and exercise.

In addition to the walking, I have decreased my intake of certain foods, like carbs, sweets and sodas. I am eating healthier and eating a lot of green vegetables. After work when I have arrive home, I ride my bicycle for 20 minutes. At this point now, my mindset is that I’m obsessed with exercise and it feels really good to me.

As the summer approaches, school-age children should be active doing a lot of physical exercise. A healthy body produces a healthy and alert mind, so I would encourage every student to get into shape now and be ready for fall 2013-2014.

I think students will be surprised by the results if they commit to an exercise program. They will discover how well their mental capacity and emotional level will be much improved. Exercise can work for you as it has worked for me and so many other people. There may be some students who wish to lose a few pounds in the process. If this is your desire, I encourage you to walk, run and play tennis, swim, bike ride, play basketball or any other sport that will get you away from the television and the video games.

If weight loss is your goal, one must consider diet changes, too. My goal is to lose weight and also to get the proper amount of exercise for sustaining a healthy lifestyle. I can assure you if you are dedicated to changing your bad habits, positive results will happen.

An unhealthy lifestyle without exercise will increase health risks in later years. To maintain a good lifestyle, students must and should eat properly, get the right amount of exercise and get the full amount of rest needed to sustain healthy living.

When I was in the ninth-grade, I was a chubby boy who was being victimized by some of my peers with a lot of fat jokes and jeers. I was often excluded from certain activities. If there was a pick-up basketball game, I would be the last one to be picked, not because of my skill level, but because of my lack of mobility. To add insult to injury, I was unable to get a girlfriend. This was truly a bone of contention for me. This motivated me to lose weight. I vowed to myself that before the fall of my 10th-grade year, I would lose the pounds I desired to lose.

That summer, I engaged myself in every sport necessary for me to lose the weight. Later that same year, I had a girlfriend and the fat jokes and jeers soon disappeared.

Wherein lies your motivation? Ask yourself candid questions about your lifestyle.

Allow me to encourage you to be active this summer and adopt a healthy lifestyle. You are not too young nor are you too old.

Have a safe and enjoyable summer. Let’s all get in shape. We can do this.

Philoron A. Wright Sr. is assistant to the superintendent of community and schools for Alachua County Public Schools.

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