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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Beat the freshman 15 with healthy living

From the dining halls to the Wade King Student Recreation Center, Western offers numerous ways to obtain and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Incoming students have access to a variety of resources to eat well and exercise both on and off campus.

Registered dietician Sarah Richey, who has worked on campus since 2012, provides free counseling to students and specializes in eating disorder prevention.

“A good diet is the one where you are the boss of it,” Richey said. “You’re listening to your body and what your body is telling you.”

Richey provides one-on-one or group nutrition counseling that can be scheduled by calling her office phone or emailing her directly. Richey also participates in workshops and classes for students to receive the information and help they desire about nutrition.

One of the classes is called NuFit, which is a once a week class at the rec center dedicated to providing students with a range of topics from the latest workout and diet craze to body image and size acceptance, Richey said.

Along with Richey, Erica Chapman, a personal trainer at the rec center, said she believes that it is extremely healthy to have a regular fitness routine because it helps keep a healthy diet.

“It’s a great way to relieve stress,” Chapman said. “It helps you sleep better, it improves your mood, it makes you feel better, it gives you more energy and you can make a lot of friends that way, so it improves your entire quality of life.”

Chapman is the lead personal trainer at the rec center as well as a kinesiology movement studies major, with a sports psychology minor. Her main goal as a personal trainer is to prepare students to be able to workout efficiently for the rest of their life, Chapman said.

Along with preparing students for lifelong fitness, Chapman also encourages incoming students to get involved with exercise resources both on and off campus.

These resources include the recreation center, intramurals, the rock wall and the Outdoor Center, which are all on campus, Chapman said.

Sierra Myers, a senior at Western and a personal trainer with Chapman, said one her favorite off campus resources is the Lakewood facility at Lake Whatcom where students can rent paddleboards and kayaks.

Along with Lakewood, Myers recommended hiking Oyster Dome and the numerous amounts of hikes near Mount Baker, as well as going for a run or a bike ride.

“My biggest thing is finding activities that you enjoy doing,” Myers said. “If you don’t enjoy doing something you’re not going to want to do it and you’re not going to find any motivation.” 

In addition to exercising, those who have meal plans in the dining halls have access to healthy food options.

While eating at the dining hall, Richey said she recommends students try to get breakfast before going to class and snacking throughout the day. By doing this students will not be as hungry late in the evening, and will be able to break the cycle of late night eating, Richey said.

With healthy food at students’ fingertips and exercise resources available both on and off campus, students can find many opportunities to live a healthy lifestyle while at Western.

“My biggest piece of advice for freshman would be to be OK with getting uncomfortable for a week and try new things,” Chapman said. “Just grab a friend, experience the uncomfortable together and just have fun with it and find something you really enjoy.”

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