Cardio: The FREE Drug

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Joseph Bellott, Contributing Writer

Who has time for the gym? We look up and it’s already Friday, you know? If the gym was a pill it would be the most prescribed pill in the world, but the time it takes to suit up, hit a workout, and take a shower (hopefully) is just too much time and energy. Well I am your heavenly sent angel herel to turn you into one of those people who fights through the negative thoughts and makes the gym a habit. 

The American Heart Association, and all other leading health organizations, recommend just 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week for adults aged 18 and up. Now come on, there are 10,080 minutes in a week, that is not a lot. For support, there are  67 sets of 150 minutes in a week. 67! Can you use one of those sets for your well being and get a little active? 

For children the recommendations are a little more steep, requiring at least 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous intensity activity. I say steep only because of the fact that kids stay inside these days. If you were to tell me in my childhood prime, 2007-11, that I could only be allotted 60 minutes of physical activity a day I would go to church and pray I was dreaming. I would play outside for five hours at least on a Saturday and another two or three on Sunday. Kids these days are getting so lazy with all of their cute gadgets, as well as adults. 

The world, America especially, has gotten, and will keep becoming, more and more out of shape. The number one reason, above a bad diet, is a sedentary lifestyle. Desk jobs, television, social media and video games, are all some ways we get into a sedentary position. Some of these things we can’t control, like working at a desk for eight hours a day, and because of this we feel sorry for ourselves. Low motivation is the number one reason people are sedentary, in my opinion. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death, followed by cancer, accidents, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke cerebrovascular disease. Besides accidents, all the top causes of death are significantly reduced by exercise. A couple supporting points to that are from Healthline, showing that the minimal recommended exercise reduces heart disease risk by 21%, and the American Cancer Society, showing that regular physical activity reduces risk in more than 10 types of cancers and has as much or more than a 20% risk reduction effect. 

Some ways students at UNO can increase their cardio activity are easier than you might think. Just parking your car farther away from your destination is one way. Taking the stairs in buildings to get to classes is another. Many students find it easier to drive around New Orleans, but many places are accessible near campus such as Walgreens. (Just remember to stay safe and go with a friend if you can.) A kettlebell can be purchased at Target between $5.99-$25, depending on the weight, and can be kept in a small room such as a dorm. Just a few swings a day can help weight loss and pack on minutes to your cardio regime. 

Beyond how long you stay on our planet, it’s also about how much you enjoy your stay. Exercise treats and prevents many mental illnesses, especially depression and anxiety. It’s heavily backed by science, and exercise is even used in drug rehab facilities as a recovery method for former drug addicts, recently painkiller users. Just remember that all of those cliché facts and advice regarding physical activity you hear from me, your doctor and others are more than true. And you can be productive while getting your exercise in, perhaps gardening, or washing the car or walking to the local church or convenience store. Find ways to blend exercise into your daily life if you really find it hard to get in the gym or go for a brisk walk or jog. Eventually you will learn to  enjoy it and your body will thank you by making you feel good and live stronger and happier.