Why exercise?

Katie Occhipinti

By Katie Occhipinti
Correspondent

I have the best job on campus — I am a personal trainer in the Physical Enhancement Center located in Packer Hall. I am certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and I am a health and exercise science major. Every assessment I have with my client begins the same way: I ask my client “why do you exercise?’ and “what are your goals?” The most popular answers that I receive include “to tone up,” “to lose weight” or even wanting abs like “The Situation,” from MTV’s “The Jersey Shore.”

However, every once and a while I receive a response that puts into perspective just how important exercise and physical activity truly are. Just the other day I had a conversation with a client who revealed, “Both my father and my brother passed away due to a heart attack and I want to start living a healthier lifestyle.”

For many of us, including myself, sometimes the focus of exercise relies heavily on superficial improvements. However, believe it our not, fitting better in our jeans is only a secondary effect of exercise — not the sole reason.

The College’s own, Dr. Avery Faigenbaum CSCS, FACSM, FNSCA, an expert in the field of health and exercise science, helps highlight the true benefits of exercise. They include reducing the risk of dying early, reducing the risk of type two diabetes, reducing high blood pressure, reducing the risk of colon cancer, reducing the risk of breast cancer and reducing the side effects of depression.

Why not throw in building healthy bones and promoting overall psychological well-being. Did I mention reducing the risk of dying early?

Unfortunately, the truth is that unlike when our grandparents were growing up, the leading cause of death in our country is heart disease, a disease that one-third of the time is caused by physical inactivity.

We must remember that we do not just wake up one morning when we are 50 years old, over-weight with clogged arteries, but rather what we are doing now sets the stage for what is to come of our health in the future. As young adults we are at the perfect time in our lives to start creating healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle that can lead to a healthy life.

At the end of the day, does it really matter why we exercise or choose to stay active? No, but the more reasons we have the better. So decide which of these benefits motivate you and get moving!

Katie Occhipinti can be reached at occhipi2@tcnj.edu. To schedule an appointment with Katie, call the PEC at 609-771-2014.