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Health & Fitness in METU NCC

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Image of the outdoor running track and court where students can go to jog and work on their health and fitness.
A student pictured taking in a solitary jog to keep his health and fitness in check.

Our primary goal as students of METU should be to mature, contribute like no other, and dominate wherever we are. Hence, concerns about our well-being should be deemed monumental. This is neither a rant on obesity, the many chronic diseases spreading, nor the food industry. Besides, we are already tired of the same boring researches that put shame to our lifestyles. However, what does it mean to take care of one’s fitness and health? Why should we care? How can we improve them comfortably? What does our university provide to help its residents reach greater heights?

Distinguishing the Differences

Contrary to the belief of most METUans, fitness and health are not the same. Simply put, being fit means to do whatever it takes to improve your performance in a sport. Health, on the other hand, is dependent on the fact that our body is functioning properly to suit our daily needs. Your health is a subsidy of many that ought to be taken care of, for not many gifts last you a life-time.

Many myths may emerge: giving an image that a good physique means good health. Such myths can harm many of our residents; making them endure harsh, strict, and unhealthy diets. Although it may show important contributors to health such as muscle and fat ratios, there are many other factors that we cannot analyze with just a glance.

Fitness

To clarify, fitness (unlike health) is how well your body can do sports and athletic activities. As you might have expected, you need to constantly train and improve your performance in certain activities to better your fitness. This means attaining a certain physique, diet, hobbies, and training regimen. Every sport should be treated as a world of its own, having different variables that may attribute an athlete’s success. To illustrate this, the soccer players of METU tend to eat lots of carbohydrates. This would be devastating for the average resident, as we don’t move nearly as enough as they do.

Health

On the other hand, health is not as straightforward. Health can be subdivided into mental and physical. Ancient civilizations have acknowledged the value of physical health, and even written numerous books about it. However, mental health has only received awareness for roughly the past century and a half (psychology developed in 1879). Thus, there still resides many ambiguities when discussing what creates a positive, determined, and industrious individual.

Sadly, many people still think of mental health as a joke. Thus, creating dogmas preventing many METUans to correlate and care for one another. A superb 80-year-old study done showed the correlation between age and happiness. More often than not, those who were happy also lived long lives (The Harvard Gazette, 2018). Hence, we establish a clear connection between emotions- such as happiness- and lifespan.

Physical Health

Taking care of your physical health is simple enough: eat properly, exercise adequately, and integrate good habits into your life. All of our students and instructors know this, yet we drown in excess information; so much that we cannot discern between what is right and wrong any more. We have made things as simple as eating properly so complex when many of our ancestors have lived healthily on simple lifestyles.

Diets

Complications tend to arise when discussing diets. Most of the guys training in the gym will suggest that you start eating more. On the other hand, the girls will tell you to eat less. Who is right, and who is wrong? Truth be told, there is no ultimate diet for everyone. It is largely dependent on your needs and daily activities. Of course, there are many factors to take into account when it comes to your health: longevity, effectiveness, and risk.

Simplification

The most important thing in your diet is longevity. How long can you withstand that diet? Are you satisfied with the food you eat? Or will it make you crave ice-cream all day rather than your upcoming exam schedule? If your diet isn’t a fit for your lifestyle, then it simply isn’t adequate to your health and well-being, as you will most likely just spoil it sooner or later.

Second, ensure that you are meeting your daily requirements and energy supply. This is what may cause many to panic, each one with their plan. We tend to forget why we started all the commotion in the first place; to live a better life. So as long as you are performing well and comfortably in your daily activities, you shouldn’t worry too much about your health.

Precautions

However, we ought to take a few precautions from dangerous diets. For instance, the outrageous low-fat diet has been trending for quite some time now. Fats are essential for the absorption of nutrients and the production of hormones (American Heart Association, 2014). The same goes for high-carb diets. We tend to eat way too much when we should keep our carbs to a bare minimum, as it has been proven to lower our life expectancy staggeringly; thus negatively affecting our health (What I’ve Learned, 2020). Doing a bit of research is the way to go if you don’t want to fall victim to pseudoscience.

Slow & Steady Wins the Race!

More trouble is found in our bad daily habits. Many people go to Medico due to numerous strains and aches. Perhaps a simple adjustment in the way you sit can solve all that and more. So sleep well, have a good posture while sitting and walking, chew your food well, breathe correctly, etc. Although you may think these actions are inferior to exercise, they can dramatically affect your daily comfort and well-being over time. Something as simple as tongue posture- can cure many of our modern troubles, e.g. sleep- disordered breathing, nasal congestion, etc. (Mauclaire et al., 2015). Taking these small habitual changes will dramatically decrease your visits to the doctor.

Exercise

Despite what many believe, exercise is essential. Sure, many people have lived long lives without it, but probably could’ve lived more satisfactorily had they done a few simple exercises throughout the week. This can be seen in a study where a group of rats were acquainted with running wheels, and another without. Unsurprisingly, the mice that had running wheels had far more neurons in the hippocampus than those without, indicating better neurogenesis (Thuret, 2015).

For those who don’t understand the function of the hippocampus, it is responsible for the essential components of human cognition. “Being an integral part of the limbic system, the hippocampus plays a vital role in regulating learning, memory encoding, memory consolidation, and spatial navigation” (Dutta, 2019, p. 3). Basically, exercise helps you to better maintain the growth of your brain. To conclude, to better increase one’s efficiency in studies, one ought to exercise more often.

Image of a student going through some of his karate kicks training on the campus.
Training on METU NCC campus.

Recap

To sum it all up, physical health is easy to take care of and improve upon. The countless views on such a topic are absurd. Sure, there may be details that make such adjustments somewhat difficult, such as a diagnosis of sorts. But in the end, physical health should be a very individual thing, a lifestyle that provides care for your daily needs. As long as you are studying, walking, and socializing comfortably, there should be no worries

Mental Health

Unlike physical health, mental health has been undermined for quite some time. Mental health is dependent on two things: genetics and an adaptation to the environment. Your natural mental state can change through mutations, mainly due to environmental and habitual stressors. Of course, we shall not delve too deeply into this. Rather, we only need to relax and avoid the interference of stressors to study, communicate, and cooperate adequately. There are many methods to soothe your mental state. Some may include talking to friends and relatives, playing games, meditation, and so on.

Social Life

Talking to the ones close to you can greatly improve your mood, both short and long term. Other than the fact that it creates a protective bubble that helps us forget what is bothering us, it makes a boy become a man or a girl, a woman. It’s what influences people to change their beliefs, habits, and values; a route to enlightenment. It may seem cliché, but they make all the difference in the world. Even two of the richest people, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, agree that friendship is important. They said that you should try to befriend people you see as better than you, as they are the ones that will influence you to become just like them.

Hanging out with friends from METU NCC during summer break.
Hanging out with friends from METU NCC during summer break.

METUans should be open to sharing their problems and helping one another. After all, that person might help you back one day. Religious or not, it should seem apparent that the golden rule is of high value in civilizations of all forms. And an important part of growing up is to sympathize with others, acknowledge other’s personal affairs, and become closer to what makes us human.

The Proffers of METU NCC

There is no need to argue that relaxation is subjective. Yes, people have their differences when it comes to attaining pleasure. Luckily, METU NCC provides plenty of facilities, societies, and landscapes for one to enjoy his stay. Do the tense competitions in sports entice you? Well, there are many societies and tournaments for sports, sometimes even between other universities. Do you like squeezing your brain relentlessly in thought? Well, you may indulge in the thought societies, problem-solving society, music society, and research. Perhaps you prefer being one with nature, drawing, and going on hikes. METU NCC offers all this and more. Although they might not be of your best interests at first, integrating them in your life will surely bestow assets upon you.

But we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. Stress is inevitable. Hence, we need to better adapt to such stressors quickly, and without hurting neither our people nor studies. Talking to a close friend or relative is always a viable option. If you prefer to keep such matters private, the student development and counselling-center are always available to assist you in your needs. They will ensure you get the care you need, listening to your worries, and offer help.

It should seem apparent that some options are better than others when approaching a problem. Let’s say that you were disappointed with your exam results. You should ask for help from a peer, create a study partner, and collaborate. Who knows, that person might as well become a really good friend of yours later on. Maybe you lost a loved one. It would probably be a good idea to go to student development and counselling-center, as they are better equipped to deal with your struggles. Financial problems should be handled first-hand with your care-givers. If they cannot help, contact relatives. If all else fails, you can always try to negotiate with student affairs.

Downsides?

We must admit that everything has its upsides and downsides. What can METU NCC do to improve its facilities? What is it that it lacks to help the residents to live healthily? Even though the university has given us so many privileges, we can always try to make it even better. Well, the flaws are reliant on two main components: the food and lack of liveliness. These two are the ones that make the students most uncomfortable on campus usually.

Food

There are many instances when we cannot make food. Maybe you were sick, really tired, or just outright lazy to cook. So what do we do? We buy food. The problem lies in the fact that there are no healthy alternatives. You can only order oily fast food. The best option is the main cafeteria, which tends to serve food not suitable for most. Many complain about the lack of variety in choices when it comes to food, spice amount and strength, and many other things. Sure, we may argue that there will always be someone to complain about the food, but the fact that it isn’t just one ethnicity that avoids a certain cafeteria or restaurant of sorts poses a problem for the cafeteria, not the people. Does it not make sense?

Liveliness

Another component that discourages people from studying on campus is the lack of liveliness. Most people live near industrial areas, crowded cities, and constant blaring sounds. The sudden shift is alarming to most and the main cause of panic to most newcomers. Of course, this isn’t a problem the campus can solve in a day or two. There are no clear solutions to this, as this is an island with a relatively small population. However, we may encourage group activities more often, giving people a portion of the energy and liveliness of a city.

Another solution is to take a different approach to the problem at hand. Just because it is a new experience doesn’t mean it is harmful. We might as well use this time to utilize this seemingly eerie peace and quiet correctly. Invest in your time as you see fit. And the fact that the campus is small means your relationships here will have greater meaning and impact on one another. Perhaps this approach will be a good solution to the problem at hand.

Also worth mentioning that the campus does put in effort to hold festivals and help societies run some events through the course of the semesters to help students take breaks off their long busy days.

Why It Matters

Both bodily function and that of the brain are important for us to enjoy many of the activities available in life comfortably. As METUans, we should all strive to be better people, so that we may better follow our ambitions and dreams. We all want to help the ones we love. To take care of the ones who put so much effort for us to be where we are. And say thank you to our family, friends, instructors, and all who have helped us.

However, we cannot expect anything from ourselves if we don’t try to change. How do you expect to help others if you are in bad condition yourself? You’ll end up failing and/ or inflicting misery upon yourself and those who help you. How can you try to better yourself if you aren’t even near optimum condition? Conditioning our bodies will create a far more disciplined, imaginative, and positive mentality. Such a mentality is better capable of tackling many problems and taking advantage of whatever appropriate opportunity reaches them. To conclude, it should only be rational to achieve great health and some level fitness so that we are smart, efficient, and of strong will.

References

American Heart Association. (2014, March 23). Dietary fats. www.heart.org.
https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/dietary-fats
Dutta, S. S. (2019, August 20). Hippocampus functions. News-Medical.net.
https://www.news-medical.net/health/Hippocampus-Functions.aspx
The Harvard Gazette. (2018, November 26). Over nearly 80 years, Harvard study has been showing how to live a healthy and happy life. Harvard Gazette.
https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/04/over-nearly-80-years-harvard-studyhas-been-showing-how-to-live-a-healthy-and-happy-life/
Mauclaire, C., Vanpoulle, F., & Saint-Georges-Chaumet, Y. (2015, August 15). (PDF)
Physiological correction of lingual dysfunction with the “Tongue right positioner”:
Beneficial effects on the upper airways. ResearchGate.
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281142349_Physiological_correction_of_lin gual_dysfunction_with_the_Tongue_Right_Positioner_Beneficial_effects_on_the_upper_airways

McGuinness, D. (2011, April 24). Study scans Buddhist monk brains. BBC News.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-12661646

Do you know the difference between fitness and health? |
Optimum health solutions. Optimum.

https://www.opt.net.au/difference-fitness-andhealth/
Thuret, S. (2015, October 30). You can grow new brain cells. Here’s how. YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_tjKYvEziI&list=PL0UBrQFP-ffAD5xiwgRjA109D6jiCm2A&index=138
Ward, M. (2017, February 8). Why Bill Gates and Warren Buffett say your friends are crucial to your career. CNBC.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/08/why-bill-gates-and-warrenbuffett-say-your-friends-are-crucial-to-your-career.html
What I’ve Learned. (2020, July 26). What made the Ancient Egyptians Fat and Sick? YouTube.

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