Students maintain physical health throughout busy school year


Sophomore Fiona Ferguson eats a balanced meal during her lunch period. Her lunch is filled with all the crucial food groups needed to sustain her throughout the day. “Eating well gives you energy for everyday tasks,” Ferguson said. “Self-care has a different meaning for everyone, but physical health and fitness is the basis for everything.”

Throughout the 2019-20 school year, students have taken the initiative to maintain their physical health while also dealing with an abundance of schoolwork and extracurricular activities. 

High school students with a large workload often do not have time to stay on top of their health. Eating healthy, exercise, and sleep are forgone in favor of studying or catching up on school work. Yet, some students have come up with different ways to aid themselves in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

“[Students can] buy healthier packaged snacks. Instead of buying chips and cookies, buy dried fruits, trail mix, or vegetable chips,” sophomore Fiona Ferguson said. “Meal prepping is hard, and it takes time and practice, but you can start out by finding what types of healthy foods you like and go from there.”

While sometimes difficult to fit into a school day, exercise is extremely vital to one’s health and mind. There are many tips to help fit short term physical activity into a busy student’s schedule, but frequently working out creates a drive and willingness to continue to exercise. 

“To maintain exercise, the most important thing a busy teenager can do is create a habit of physical activity doing the things you enjoy,” science teacher Allen Weltig said. “Whether it is running, walking, biking, weight lifting, plan a time you can do it, even if it’s only a couple times a week, stick to it.”

Sleep, an additional component of physical health, is especially important. Teenagers should receive 8 hours of sleep every night, however, students typically get much less than that, which contributes to serious repercussions in the body. 

“The brain needs time to process and make sense of all the information it collected through the day and too little sleep means that much of that information is lost,” Weltig said. “[Additionally,] insufficient sleep for several days also impacts the immune system, [making the immune system] fatigued and unable to defend the body from invaders.”

 To combat the shrinking amount of sleep students get, setting goals for each day and keeping a realistic mindset of what students limits are aids in establishing a satisfactory sleep schedule. As schoolwork and extracurriculars take more time away from rest, students have begun to find ways to incorporate relaxation and sleep into their day. 

 “It can be impossible to get eight hours of sleep each night, and naps take up the precious time we have outside of school, but I think it helps to set a reasonable bedtime,” sophomore Nicole Gorrell said. “Also, remind yourself that you can’t be perfect at everything, and maybe even saving that worksheet for the next day, can help you ease your mind and fall asleep quicker.”

As the window of time for teenagers’ minds and bodies to grow gets smaller, the importance of staying fit and being healthy steadily rises. While taking care of fitness becomes difficult to manage for engaged teenagers, physical health has significant impacts on the adult body. 

“Your health determines your future,” Gorrell said. “The more you take care of yourself through exercise and healthy eating, the more likely it is that you’ll live on happy and not so stiff as you age.”