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(January 25, 2001, Gazette)

Working off the turkey

Mary MacGillivrayStudent View columnist Mary MacGillivray checks out the Aquarena Fitness Centre.

The holiday season has passed. Lots of turkey has been gobbled up, and here we are in the merry month of January. For many, after indulging in various holiday goodies, this is a time to forget those dancing sugarplums of December. With great determination, many wise folk are seeking to live healthier than they had the year before. Certainly this is a fine way to beat the winter blahs that may arise at this time of year. In order to follow through on such resolutions, it’s important to make smart choices in various lifestyle areas.

It can be difficult at times to distinguish between feelings of hunger and those of dehydration. Drinking plenty of water every day is a great way to fend off dehydration, the cause of many problems, including reduced energy levels.

Another important area is choosing healthy foods to eat. Here at Memorial there are a number of choices for students, faculty, and staff alike. Some food choices on campus would say “red alert, step away from the counter,” if they could talk, such as desserts that call out sweetly “come hither.” Thankfully for those of us who exercise or eat meals on campus at Memorial, there are some healthy choices to be had.

Some of the meals available on campus are full of empty calories, virtually a zero in terms of nutritive value, and an alluring 10 in terms of taste and price. Other options are quite satisfactory in what they have to offer in terms of fuel. On campus, there is a selection of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products, and protein powered foods. The “extras” that are available which are saturated in sugar, salt, and fat need not be the only choice for those who wish to eat better than they had in the previous year. It’s not difficult to acquire the fat content and caloric values of foods offered at the new University Centre, generally the staff are quite willing to help one find food that is most heartsmart or healthy for them. Of course it’s nice to know there are tasty goodies available for a special treat. As they say, all things in moderation – including moderation.

After indulging in a treat, there are facilities available on campus where one can exercise and shake off any of winter blahs. The Aquarena has made many improvements since Memorial assumed control of it about five years ago. The strength and conditioning centre has doubled in size, and there is a wide variety of equipment available to students, staff and faculty of Memorial at reduced rates.

Many of the staff members are currently attending Memorial or are alumni. Gail Innes, fitness manager at the Aquarena, has hired students from the school of Physical Education at Memorial for their expertise in this area. People are encouraged to call the Aquarena and arrange for a free appointment. An orientation session on the safe use of equipment is provided and a personal workout program may be suggested.

On hand is a well-trained staff, including Jerome Brennan, a personal trainer who is available to help encourage maximum results. There’s a 65-metre pool to dart or bob around in and two international-sized squash courts, as opposed to the smaller sized North American courts in the Physical Education building.

You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to get moving and feel great. Low, medium and high impact exercises are available to suit your needs. Finding a way to incorporate stress-relieving activity into your week is an excellent step towards better health. Consulting a nutritionist as to what food plan is best for you may be one of the most important investments you’ll make all year. Fuelling up properly before and after exercising provides better results. So start at your own pace, the good effects of exercise on the body, mind, and spirit are undisputable.

Best of luck!

To arrange for a free orientation call the Aquarena at 737-3795 or 737-3796.

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