10 Reasons To Be Healthy While You're Young - Now, Not Later

10 Reasons To Be Healthy While You're Young - Now, Not Later

Starting your health journey now can have major payoffs later.
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Being healthy can be an afterthought for many people in their teens, twenties, or even thirties. It doesn't help when you add a busy schedule and greasy, cheap food that is readily accessible only a hop and skip, or a drive and park away. Add the fact that you're ballin' on a budget and you can pretty much assume the recipe for disaster will be ready to come out of the oven.

This being said, I tried to come up with some genuine reasons and benefits of being and staying healthy while you're still young. Some of them are pretty obvious and straightforward, but some may be new things to consider the next time you have to make that decision between a greasy hamburger and fries, or a hearty salad with grilled chicken. And let's be real, you're allowed to spoil yourself every once in awhile. I am the last person to reprimand someone for enjoying their food.

1. More energy for now and later

It won't normally be a sudden burst of energy when you first start working out and eating healthy on a regular basis, but you will gradually notice that you have more and more unexplained energy. And we all could use more energy in our everyday lives. After you get over that little bit of mental and physical soreness that comes with getting accustomed to eating healthy and working out, you'll feel that extra kick that you need to get you through the day. If you start to live a healthy lifestyle now while you're young and have more energy, it will be so much easier than trying to start it later on when you're older and more set in your ways.

2. Improve your health for the future

If you get in the habit of being healthy now, it will put your body at a lower risk for health problems and possible diseases later on, such as diabetes and high cholesterol. Remember, skinny does not mean healthy just as a little extra fat does not equate to being unhealthy. There's so much that goes on internally in your body that is affected by what you eat and how often you are working out. Once you reach a healthy equilibrium within your body, it will function more and more like the fine-tuned piece of machinery that it is meant to be. #beastmode

3. It becomes a force of habit

After you've made yourself follow a schedule that is healthy for your body, it will become such an unconscious effort that it won't require mindful consideration. It essentially becomes a lifestyle and no longer as much of a chore. You become so accustomed to eating certain things and not throwing away your diet and great workouts for a few minutes of greasy satisfaction. You start to become proud of who you are and how far you've come.

4. It can provide you with more confidence

You start to look at your body and yourself in a whole new light. It becomes a work in progress that you're always striving for. It keeps it interesting for you and you can go shopping or wear that old tank top with confidence! Not to mention, you get to pride yourself on how far you've come when you show up to your next high school reunion, or when you show up to your job on a daily basis with more confidence in the way you look.

5. You will feel better and more refreshed

Since you will be consistently replenishing your body with proper nutrition and the right kind of calories along with working out on a regular basis, you will notice that your body will be able to do its normal functions with a lot more ease. Racing up the stairs to drop off your groceries so that you can get to your appointment on time? No problem. Your skin will thank you for allowing it to insulate itself by breaking out in a sweat and getting rid of those nasty toxins in your body. Add on a couple more years and your skin and body will tend to reflect your healthy eating habits and lifestyle, making you feel and look younger.

6. You tend to gravitate towards healthier habits

You become so accustomed to being healthy that you get on a certain schedule of eating certain foods and working out that you focalize your day on it. It becomes the fabric of your days that you plan around. Therefore, you tend to do other healthy things that can optimize your newly acquired healthy habits, such as drinking more water to stay hydrated and going to bed earlier to get that extra sleep you so desperately need after that hard workout. If you set yourself up for a healthy schedule now, it will be so much easier to do the same later on when you're thrown into the middle of a busy career or whatever life may throw your way.

7. You meet positive people with similar interests

Once you get yourself in a healthy schedule, you tend to surround yourself with people that are supportive or have the same kind of healthy habits. You normally end up making friends or spending more time with people that are also interested in being and staying healthy. They will likely gravitate towards that new salad bar rather than hitting up that new bar down the way for drinks after you've both put in a good two hours at the gym. These will likely be some of the friends that you will carry on with you as you try to figure out this crazy thing we call life.

8. It pays off on your mental well-being

Working out can be one of the greatest stress relievers you can experience. It allows you to take all that stress you have acquired throughout the day or week and vet it towards something more helpful than just being frustrated. Being able to take all that stress out while you run, lift weights, or do yoga can allow you to peacefully release all that steam. The less stress you have now while you're young will have huge implications on your overall standard of living and mental well-being later on. If you can find a healthy way to release that stress now, it won't be such a hassle in the future when new issues and things hit your schedule.

9. You attain greater willpower and mental ability

It honestly takes so much self-discipline and mental strength to consistently eat healthy and workout on a regular basis, especially in the beginning. But the more and more you exercise these habits, the more it will become second nature and will likely pay off in the future. You will be able to tell yourself, as much as I really want those cookies at the end of the day, I really don't need them. That in itself can be super challenging, but so much of it is mental. If you are able to get yourself into a healthy mindset on a daily basis, it makes all the difference on your thought process and daily habits for now and in the future, which also allows you to become stronger mentally.

10. You become a positive role model for family and friends

You did it! You forced yourself to be healthy and you're sure proud of yourself for it. And so are your friends and family. By proving that you can do it, you show them that they can also make steps towards bettering themselves and their own lives. You become that role model for people and therefore become a positive influence that people like to surround themselves with. Become your own superman or superwoman!

Happy and healthy living is the best kind of living. Remember, you only have one body; might as well take good care of it.

Cover Image Credit: Samantha Mitchell

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Bailey Posted A Racist Tweet, But That Does NOT Mean She Deserves To Be Fat Shamed

As a certified racist, does she deserve to be fat shamed?
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This morning, I was scrolling though my phone, rotating between Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Snapchat again, ignoring everyone's snaps but going through all the Snapchat subscription stories before stumbling on a Daily Mail article that piqued my interest. The article was one about a teen, Bailey, who was bullied for her figure, as seen on the snap below and the text exchange between Bailey and her mother, in which she begged for a change of clothes because people were making fun of her and taking pictures.

Like all viral things, quickly after her text pictures and harassing snaps surfaced, people internet stalked her social media. But, after some digging, it was found that Bailey had tweeted some racist remark.

Now, some are saying that because Bailey was clearly racist, she is undeserving of empathy and deserves to be fat-shamed. But does she? All humans, no matter how we try, are prejudiced in one way or another. If you can honestly tell me that you treat everyone with an equal amount of respect after a brief first impression, regardless of the state of their physical hygiene or the words that come out of their mouth, either you're a liar, or you're actually God. Yes, she tweeted some racist stuff. But does that mean that all hate she receives in all aspects of her life are justified?

On the other hand, Bailey was racist. And what comes around goes around. There was one user on Twitter who pointed out that as a racist, Bailey was a bully herself. And, quite honestly, everyone loves the downfall of the bully. The moment the bullies' victims stop cowering from fear and discover that they, too, have claws is the moment when the onlookers turn the tables and start jeering the bully instead. This is the moment the bully completely and utterly breaks, feeling the pain of their victims for the first time, and for the victims, the bully's demise is satisfying to watch.

While we'd all like to believe that the ideal is somewhere in between, in a happy medium where her racism is penalized but she also gets sympathy for being fat shamed, the reality is that the ideal is to be entirely empathetic. Help her through her tough time, with no backlash.

Bullies bully to dominate and to feel powerful. If we tell her that she's undeserving of any good in life because she tweeted some racist stuff, she will feel stifled and insignificant and awful. Maybe she'll also want to make someone else to feel as awful as she did for some random physical characteristic she has. Maybe, we might dehumanize her to the point where we feel that she's undeserving of anything, and she might forget the preciousness of life. Either one of the outcomes is unpleasant and disturbing and will not promote healthy tendencies within a person.

Instead, we should make her feel supported. We all have bad traits about ourselves, but they shouldn't define us. Maybe, through this experience, she'll realize how it feels to be prejudiced against based off physical characteristics. After all, it is our lowest points, our most desperate points in life, that provide us with another perspective to use while evaluating the world and everyone in it.

Cover Image Credit: Twitter / Bailey

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Cross-Country Running Turned Me Into Superwoman

Running pulled me out of my everyday funk.

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Before I found the key to my personal success, waking up each morning was a drag. I did not know how to change my negativity. Early every morning my alarm clock would scream at its highest pitch and loudest volume to scold me for existing.

Breakfast (the most important meal of the day) was bland, lifeless, or even just skipped completely. There seemed no point in fueling a broken, run-down engine.

Packing up my heavy, oversized backpack was an everyday annoyance. I would swing my worthless school textbooks over my shoulder, beginning another exhausting day.

I destroyed this negative mindset when I found cross-country running. Introduced to me by a close friend, I had no idea that the sport would soon ameliorate my life.

Today, I wake up before my alarm clock even needs to tell me that it is time to start a new and exciting day of learning and improvement.

Breakfast is of utmost importance. A vigorous, motivated running machine needs nutrients for fuel. I look at myself in the mirror as I tie my hair back; I feel beautiful and capable. Most importantly, I know I can take on anything.

With my running shoes tied tight and my muscles thoroughly stretched and warmed up, I burst out of the door. I hold my head up high and roll my shoulders back, assuming the posture of a powerful superhero. With each stride I beat down upon the ground, leaving clouds of dust behind. My heartbeat is jolted as my legs push forward with power; straining my body. Cramps crawl up my sides, begging me to slow down or stop. They tighten their grip when I refuse to abandon my mission. I feel my overexerted heartbeat burst through my clenching ribcage while my laboring lungs wheeze.

When I put all my energy into keeping the steady rhythm of my feet launching off from the ground, when my breath flows deeply and steadily, then and only then am I able to become greater than any issue or shortcoming. I no longer need to rely on anyone; I just need my running shoes, my body, and my motivation.

This endorphin and adrenaline releasing exercise put me in a positive mindset, motivating me to make other self-improvements. I know I can focus all my energy into running dexterously; holding my pace for over an hour with great confidence. Therefore, I know I must have the ability to sit down for an hour and focus on understanding my calculus homework, on discovering the meaning of life, on writing a book powerful enough to change the world, on finding the answer to world peace or writing my first article for Odyssey.

I hold the same mantra: just keep going, focus your energy, you can and will achieve.

Running has taught me how to focus the entirety of my energy into one task - to not worry how long it takes to accomplish, but rather how well the task is being done. Being proficient in this skill helps me absorb more knowledge from everyday classes.

This life-enhancing sport has truly changed my overall mood and feeling towards the world around me. I look forward to finding myself completely immersed in challenging college courses, discovering fields that captivate me, and continuing to write for Odyssey. Running has taught me that this goal will be achievable.

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