By: Christina Bowman

Health and wellness have become trendy topics among millennials, yet many people – primarily students – view them as low-priority. With only 24 hours in the day, most people either don’t have an extra hour or don’t want to use an hour to work out or take care of their bodies. Why is that? No one says, “I really regret that run” or “I really wish I didn’t do that yoga session today.” If you are someone who does not have an extra three to five hours to perform a physical activity every week, there are other ways to make sure to keep yourself healthy and fit, and they stem from the way we fuel our body.

The first and most obvious priority in physical wellness is diet. There are many sources that say that a diet is the cause of 70 percent of weight loss, and working out is only 30 percent. However, it’s important for us to not look at our bodies as simply calories-in, calories-out machines, but to realize that they are more complex than that. According to Men’s Fitness Magazine, “Thinking of your body as a bank where you just cash in and check out calories neglects the fact that your hormones matter most for lasting fat loss.” The article also describes the important role metabolism plays. Fueling the body with the right foods may mean skipping that late night McDonald’s run or dessert line in the buffet, but in the end your body will reward you in a way that gives you more energy and won’t leave you lethargic.

In addition to food, drinks also affect the body. Although it is a major part of many cultures — the United States included — alcohol has little to no health benefits. The body fights to burn off the extra calories from the alcohol before it can deal with the calories from carbs, protein, and fat. There is also a common belief that a glass of red wine is good for the heart. This may not necessarily be wrong, as red wine contains antioxidants called polyphenols. However, many people forget that coffee, tea, and other drinks are known to carry the same antioxidants without the negative health effects of alcohol. Soda is another drink that lacks any nutritional value and should be cut out of everyone’s diet due to the sugar and carbonation it contains. When looking for healthy choices in drinks, water should always be number one, followed by zero-calorie, antioxidant beverages such as black coffee or unsweetened tea.

In reality, health is really important to our lives, even if we don’t have time to dedicate an extra hour every day to make it to the gym. Thankfully, the body can be kept healthy by simply fueling it the right way with little to no extra time taken out of our day, but being healthy and being fit are not necessarily the same thing. Depending on your goals, if you are more interested in being fit and still can’t find the time, there are little steps you can take that will help toward that goal over time. A few strategies include taking the stairs, parking farther away, taking a walk instead of going out to eat, biking places instead of driving, and doing calisthenics while you are watching TV. Regardless of your fitness goals, what you put in your body is most important.

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