LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Whether it's being away from home for the first time or the freedom over food choices, the first year of college can be brutal to freshmen waistlines. "They have this readily available fast food," says Dynamic Dimensions Exercise Specialist Sheena Terrot, "the all-you-can-eat meal cards, they also have the availability of alcohol and the late night snacking for the all night study sessions."
Coined the "Freshman 15," this label simply reflects the average number of pounds students pack on during their first year of college. Before McNeese State University sophomore Amber Comeaux even walked into her first college class, she knew the reality of this condition. "It's a big social issue," says Amber, "and with so many people saying 'I gained so much weight when I went to college,' it was just kind of nerve-wrecking! You know, am I going to do the same thing?"
Determined to not do the same thing, Amber is staying active - even finding ways to intertwine exercising her body and mind at once. "I'll make flashcards and I'll study while I'm running," says Amber, "just so I can do two things at once because I know time is a big pressure for most college students!"
Terrot says students should utilize at least one break in their day for a half-hour of exercise. "You definitely want to try to get your cardio in most days of the week, at least 30-60 minutes of cardio," says Terrot, "you also want to do a basic weight-training routine. Do each part of the body, two to three times a week."
Now that Amber's a college sophomore, staying fit is more than a weight goal, she says it trickles down to her performance when she hits the books. "It makes you focus more so that you do better in classes and it just makes you overall a healthier person," she says.
Another tip: use your campus rec center. It's covered by your tuition and will give you group fitness class opportunities as well as provide you with equipment for individualized fitness plans.