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Physical Health


According to the CDC only 25% of adults in the United States report engaging in recommended physical activity. The CDC recommends getting an average of 30 minutes of moderate activity a day to maintain a healthy life style. At the NMSU activity center students can engage in numerous sports and exercise classes. You can even check out sporting goods for a camping trip.

How Much Exercise Do You Need?

  • Cardio or aerobic activities. Achieve the aerobic activity recommendation through one of the following options:
    • A minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per day (such as brisk walking) most days of the week, or
    • A minimum of 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity (such as jogging or running) 3 days a week
  • Resistance, strength-building, and weight-bearing activities. Two days a week, incorporate strength training into your routine. Strength training activities, such as weight lifting maintain and increase muscle strength and endurance. A goal to reach towards is completing 6-8 strength training exercises, with 8–12 repetitions per exercise

Moderate-Intensity Aerobic Activities:

  • Dancing
  • Riding a stationary bike
  • Actively playing with children
  • Mowing lawn
  • Frisbee playing
  • Playing golf, walking the course
  • Downhill skiing with light effort
  • Raking leaves
  • Playing basketball
  • Walking
  • water aerobics
  • Jogging

Vigorous-Intensity Aerobic Activities:

  • Racewalking, jogging or running
  • Swimming laps
  • Mowing lawn, hand mower
  • Tennis, singles
  • Bicycling more than 10 mph, or on steep uphill terrain
  • Moving or pushing furniture
  • Circuit training – a combination of strength, endurance and aerobic exercises

Seven Benefits of Regular Physical Activity

  1. Strengthen cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
  2. Keep bones and muscles strong.
  3. Manage your weight.
  4. Prevent and manage diabetes.
  5. Ease depression and manage pain and stress.
  6. Reduce your risk of certain types of cancer.
  7. Increases sleep quality

Avoid Common Pitfalls

  • Too much too soon
  • Pie in the sky goals
  • Avoiding expert advice
  • Over exercising
  • Improper breathing
  • Lifting either too much or too little weight
  • Not staying hydrated
  • Eating too little
  • Fixating on the scale / weight loss
  • Not having a good balance between weight lifting and cardiovascular exercise
  • Remember something is better than nothing when it comes to exercise!

American Heart Association’s Healthy Lifestyles

American Heart Association’s fitness pledge


Most people require 6-8 hours of sleep per night which is about 1/3 of our lifetime experience. Sleep is restorative, it enables the body and mind to rejuvenate, re-energize, and restore. As a person sleeps, it is thought that the brain performs vital housekeeping tasks, such as: long-term memory organization; integration of new information; and tissue, nerve cell, and other biochemical repair and renewal. Sleep allows the body to rest and the mind to sort out past, present, and future activities and feelings.

Sleep Deprivation and College Students

Many studies have shown that high school and college students are typically sleep deprived and that sleep is the first thing to be compromised when trying to juggle school, work and fun. The consequences of chronic sleep deprivation/sleep debt are serious. An average sleep-deprived student may experience impaired performance, irritability, lack of concentration, and daytime drowsiness. They are less alert, attentive, and unable to concentrate effectively. Additionally, because sleep is linked to restorative processes in the immune system, sleep deprivation in a normal adult causes a biological response similar to the body fighting off an infection. Persistent sleep deprivation can cause significant mood swings, erratic behavior, hallucinations, and in the most extreme, yet rare cases, death. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to an increase in motor vehicle accidents, deficiencies in short-term memory, focus and attention as well as depressed mood and a decrease in the ability to control appetite. 

Many students make the mistake of “pulling an all nighter” before an exam only to find out that they could remember very little of what they had studied the night before. Sleep is an important part of learning retention so a good night sleep prior to an exam is just as important as actually studying for the exam. 

Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco have identified a gene, that occurs in less than 3% of people, for which the people who have this gene require only six hours of sleep a night.

So almost everyone who claims they only need six hours’ sleep is kidding themselves. And the consequences of chronic sleep deprivation are serious, says Clete Kushida, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and director of Stanford University’s Sleep Medicine Center. Sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in motor vehicle accidents, deficiencies in short-term memory, focus and attention as well as depressed mood and a decrease in the ability to control appetite.

Another common mistake is using alcohol as a way to help fall asleep. Alcohol may help a person fall asleep however the quality of sleep is compromised. Sleep follows five cycles that repeats itself throughout the night and alcohol impairs the natural progression of those sleep cycles. If a person falls asleep while intoxicated it’s unlikely that they will wake up feeling restored regardless of the number of hours spent sleeping.

Types of Sleeping Disorders

To find out more about sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, etc click on the following link:

Diet and Nutrition

There are a number of different factors that have made it increasingly difficult for people to figure out how to eat healthy. Is it low fat, low carbohydrate, high protein or is it high fat, low carbohydrate high protein? Or is it low protein, low carbohydrate, low fat which sort of equals hardly eating. Yes to grapefruit but hard pass on apples? Six small meals a day ? No food after 5:00PM? Is a calorie a calorie or are some calories somehow different? Is the traditional food pyramid now upside-down? No wonder we are confused! There are so many idea’s regarding nutrition and many of which are contradictory. How do we make sense of it all?

Weight and Dieting

To make matters even more confusing what’s a “healthy” weight and what about dieting? Some researchers state that being even moderately overweight places one at greater risk for many diseases including heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and high blood pressure. Others claim that being overweight in and by itself is not what places one at greater risk but that lack of exercise is the culprit and that there is a clear correlation between inactivity and excess weight. Is it really unhealthy to be moderately overweight or is it simply about fashion and the current trends in body size? During the later half of the 18th century women purposely tried to look larger in order to attract a mate. Did you know that Marilyn Monroe wore a size 16? Currently the average clothing size for women over the age of eighteen is a size 12 and yet women are often encouraged believe that a 3, 5, or 7 is what’s “normal” and acceptable?

Despite all of the confusion it seems that this much we know for certain. People are able to lose weight on any number of fad diets, but eating for health is what usually results in permanent weight loss and contributes to more holistic healthy body, mind and spirit. For more information click here.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is the overindulgence in and dependence of a drug or other chemical leading to effects that are detrimental to the individual’s physical and mental health, or the welfare of others.

The disorder is characterized by a pattern of continued pathological use of a medication, non-medically indicated drug, or toxin that results in repeated adverse social consequences related to drug use, such as failure to meet work, family, or school obligations, interpersonal conflicts, or legal problems. There are on-going debates as to the exact distinctions between substance abuse and substance dependence, but current practice standard distinguishes between the two by defining substance dependence in terms of physiological and behavioral symptoms of substance use, and substance abuse in terms of the social consequences of substance use.

Substance abuse may lead to addiction or substance dependence. Medically, physiologic dependence requires the development of tolerance leading to withdrawal symptoms. Both abuse and dependence are distinct from addiction which involves a compulsion to continue using the substance despite the negative consequences, and may or may not involve chemical dependency. Dependence almost always implies abuse, but abuse frequently occurs without dependence, particularly when an individual first begins to abuse a substance. Dependence involves physiological processes while substance abuse reflects a complex interaction between the individual, the abused substance and society.

Click here to visit WAVE’s alcohol and other drugs website.