Beginning in late June, I changed my mindset and decided to work more on myself. I have been mainly sedentary during the past year due to quarantine and online schooling. Every day was mostly the same for me. Sit on my chair. Turn on my computer. Work for hours. Whether it be completing assignments or working on group projects through Zoom meetings, I would be in my room for most of the day. On top of that, I did not work out or keep myself physically active, which led to weight gain and dissatisfaction in myself. A person who used to walk a minimum of 5,000 steps and take several flights of stairs barely walked 200 steps and sat on her chair for more than ten hours each day. That was me. A few weeks ago. But not anymore.
Near me, there is a Young Men‘s Christian Association (YMCA), which is a local gym run by a nonprofit organization. I decided to buy a membership in hopes of making both my mental and physical health better. Since the YMCA is less than a one-mile-walking distance from my house, I decided to walk there in the mornings. This routine is already a change in my daily lifestyle because I start my days early, heading to the gym before 6 am. Personally, working out in the mornings leaves me more time in the afternoons and evenings to do other activities.
At the YMCA, I use the elliptical for over an hour, which goes under the category of cardio workouts. With the elliptical, I travel over four miles and burn over 400 calories. During that hour, I like to take a couple of quick 20-second breaks for water and rest. In addition to the elliptical, I walk and jog on the treadmill for 20 minutes afterward. For my arrival home, I either walk back or take the car, depending on how I feel after my workout.
Aside from exercising, I pay more attention to my eating habits and my meals. I have always been the type of person to not snack, but during the pandemic, I would eat many chips and crackers (even though I was not hungry) to relieve stress or to overcome boredness. Now, I wait until I feel hungry or hear my stomach grumble because those are signs that I am ready to eat. Doing this helps me avoid overeating and makes me truly enjoy my meals.
It has now been more than a month since I have followed this routine of waking up early every day and walking to the YMCA to exercise, and I would have to say that I have never felt better. I don’t feel drowsy in the mornings anymore; I feel awake and ready to start a new day. I also believe that keeping an eye on my meals has helped me, because overeating can tend to lead to tiredness during the day. I sincerely recommend people to exercise at least thirty minutes out of the twenty-four hours they have each day. During the workout, thirty minutes may seem like a lot, especially in the beginning, and I definitely don’t disagree. But in the end, you will be thankful for taking care of yourself both physically and mentally.
Holly Bae, Grade 11
La Canada High School