Weight and Online Education – Photo Courtesy of Google Images
Distance education can be seen as quite a sedentary act. If you are sitting at the computer for hours on end, without any exercise…this could be something that could help someone put on weight. Even for people who go to a school that is not online, reports have shown that many young people are gaining 15 pounds from eating cafeteria food in their first year at college or university. What happens if you are studying by correspondence? Does online education pack on the freshman 30?
Many students who are young people and older people who chose to sit at their computer to take their courses lead busy lives. Many times their reasons for not physically going to college or university is because it is simply more convenient for them to study and to take classes from home. They have the advantage of being part of a social network with education at its focus. It is easier to squeeze in the time to do the lessons.
Many of us also know that as we spend a lot of time at home in front of the computer, it is much easier to reach the refrigerator, order a meal or take time to cook a meal. The urge to get hungry could happen often and there may be no one around to manage our eating habits. A student who studies from home could be eating just as badly as some of the food in the cafeterias on the campuses of colleges and universities all over North America. The virtual campus is accessible by a computer, plus a bag of Doritos to munch on while you are doing your homework. Doritos added with too many servings of Kraft Dinner, plus some french fries ordered at Swiss Chalet could end up doing more damage – if coupled with inactivity. At least the freshman student on a college or university campus gets the opportunity to walk around.
The question still remains unanswered though. Does online education pack on the freshman 30? At the end of the day and at the end of your semesters, that may be more a question of how active virtual students are in their lives when they are off the computer. Are they making time to go to the gym? Are they taking time to have broken so they can go on walks? Do they have children that are helping them keep fit by having to chase after them? Do they work in physically strenuous employment? Are they meeting with other online students to study the course material? Is the act of typing alone an exercise more physical than it is mental?
With these questions answered by each student who is studying over the Internet, it would be easier to determine if online students would actually gain more weight than students who actually have to get up and go to classes. I will attempt to use my own experience as an example.
When I was doing my undergraduate education, I lived a fair distance from the school. It would take about 40 minutes to walk there one way. Due to the fact that I did not have a lot of money when I was in school, I would walk to school to save on bus transportation costs. So I did receive exercise walking to and from school. This was different from when I was in my first year of university when I lived on campus. At this time, I avoided eating the cafeteria food and lived on Hickory Sticks and Skor bars in fear of gaining weight. I would walk through the tunnel system and spend as much time walking as I could. I also spent a lot of time in the first semester going out dancing at clubs in a city not far from the school.
In my second year though, and subsequent years, I would walk 80 minutes a day, plus work out at the school gym. This kept my weight down low. As well, when I was in graduate school, my weight was higher than it was in my first experience with higher education, however, I would still take time to exercise.
Studying online is similar to working many desk type jobs. Once I got into the world of work, I would spend a lot of time at the computer and exercise became less important to me. I have found over the years that a lack of exercise is one reason why I am not even close to the weight I was at during my school days. I would imagine that the same would happen to a student who was studying through distance education and lived a nonactive lifestyle. Perhaps it would be possible to gain more weight through the experience of a virtual classroom compared to studying on a campus.
OK, now it is time to discuss solutions to the potential of packing on the freshman 30 through a web course or program. Now that the problem has been presented, it would be important for anyone who is studying in a virtual classroom to also make sure they are doing physical exercise. It would also be important to make sure your food choices are healthy ones, because everyone has to eat – at least most of us. Choosing fresh fruits and vegetables, versus a bag of Doritos or Lays would be the first and obvious choice. Reducing one’s amount of coffee intake to a maximum of one a day would be ideal for your health. Coffee is known to stimulate all kinds of things such as diabetes. If you cannot dream of living without coffee, try tea instead. There are so many varieties out there, I am sure whether it is herbal tea or black tea, you would be sure to find one you like. As well, it is important to minimize the amount of meat you eat. It is always better in general and as a rule for even ruling out illnesses such as cancer that you try to choose fish and chicken over beef and pork.
I know these things are hard to do. I am hardly saying I am perfect at it myself even though I know what are the right things to do. Truly the key is exercise. If you can at least get a half hour walk in every day, and I mean on the weekends too, this would really help you to be healthier. If you do not enjoy walking, you can always choose an exercise that truly suits the kind of person you are. As long as you are keeping active…this is the key. This way you can prevent putting on the freshman 30 and continue to have the convenience of studying online.