By: Kristin Knight
Kristin Knight is a senior Communication major with triple minors in Journalism, Entrepreneurship, and Studio Art. For the past year, she’s been writing the weekly Campus Recreation blog.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies physical wellbeing, or feeling generally healthy and full of energy, as critical for overall wellbeing. Furthermore, the CDC says,
“Health is more than the absence of disease; it is a resource that allows people to realize their aspirations, satisfy their needs and to cope with the environment in order to live a long, productive, and fruitful life.”
It makes sense then, that as our environment, needs, and aspirations change, so will our relationships with physical wellbeing. From running competitively in high school to struggling to develop a fitness routine in college, my understanding of physical wellbeing has certainly changed in the past decade.
Growing up, I was never very athletic. I remember being jealous of my cousins who were talented gymnasts, swimmers, and soccer players somehow simultaneously. My parents always emphasized the importance of academics, so my after school activities were limited. However, in high school, everyone was required to play two sports. I liked the idea that running was something you could do on your own no matter where you were, so I decided to do cross country in the fall and track and field in the spring.
When I started, I could barely run a mile. I wanted to quit every day after practice, but I was also determined to get better. Four years later, I was not a star athlete, but I could actually say I enjoyed running. While probably the most physically fit I’ve ever been, I was also obsessive about how much I worked out and how much I ate. I may have weighed less and been more toned, but the relationship I had with fitness and my body wasn’t healthy — of course, I only know this now, four years later.
When I came to college, I was horrified by the “freshman 15.” I was so busy figuring out classes and trying to make friends that I was going to the gym at 10 or 11pm. Eventually, I was worn out and running without my team wasn’t the same, so I quit. I barely exercised for the rest of freshman year, and as you can imagine, I did gain those pounds I was so worried about. In reality, it was probably good for me to gain some weight, but by the end of the year, I wasn’t happy with my body or the lack of balance in my life.
I spent the next two years trying to find a balance. I’d workout consistently for a month, then drop off completely. Between the rigorous academics at Wake, the desire for a social life, and the need for sleep, exercise was often the first thing I’d cut from my schedule. Unfortunately, I should have been prioritizing my workouts. According to Mayo Clinic, regular physical activity can boost energy, improve your mood, promote better sleep, and even combat many health concerns. The National Health Service provides physical activity guidelines for adults aged 19 to 64. Even just 30 minutes a day can greatly improve your health.
Physical wellbeing is different for everyone. In the past year, I’ve learned a lot about what it means for me. For example, I’ll feel better about my week if I skip going out on Saturday night, and instead workout Sunday morning. I’ll enjoy my workouts more if I mix in different activities rather than just running day after day. Sometimes, it’s better for me to go to bed early than squeeze in a workout. I’m not the fittest, or the skinniest, and I certainly don’t have it all figured out. However, after nearly a decade, I can say I’m comfortable in my body and I’m proud of what it can do.