Spotlight on: Lauren Barker
1. What does health mean to you?
To me, health is a subjective experience. Each person needs to determine what health means to them. For me, it is knowing that when I get stressed, I need exercise, a good night’s sleep and nutritious food to keep me healthy. It’s about knowing my limits but also striving to improve myself every day.
2. What do you do to make a healthy UNH?
To make a healthy UNH, I try to support the beneficial health choices that UNH offers. For example, I participate in many intramural sports, and choose to eat the healthy items that UNH offers in the dining halls. I am also a leader in the Outing Club at UNH, so I take groups of students on hiking adventures to get people excited about being outside, surrounded by the beauty of the mountains.
3. How do you stay fit?
I think it’s important to find many different ways to stay fit. Like I previously mentioned, I am an avid hiker. I also go to the gym several times a week for cardio and weight lifting. I play intramural sports including soccer and basketball. One of the things I do to keep myself mentally and physically healthy is yoga, which I noticed has definitely had a positive effect on me.
4. Do you have any tips for eating healthfully?
I mostly cook for myself, and have found that creating a meal plan for the week and then going grocery shopping is important. I do meal prep at the beginning of the week, so I make containers of meals, fruit and vegetables that are easily accessible when I am on the go during the week with my busy schedule. It is easier to make healthful decisions when you don’t have to worry about preparing it. I also shop the sale racks of fruit and vegetables at the grocery store and freeze any extra that I have, a good way to shop healthfully and cheap!
5. How do you find motivation to stay healthy?
To find motivation, I try to keep a routine and plan my week ahead. If I have a designated time each day that I am going to go to the gym, it is easier to make the commitment to myself. Another good strategy is to make plans to work out with a friend because it is harder to break a commitment to someone else. My motto is, “You will never regret a workout,” and that has nearly always been true for me.
6. Have you made any tangible improvements to your physical or mental well being by making positive changes in your life?
A few months ago I made the decision to go gluten-free after suffering intense stomach pain for a long time that I had been choosing to ignore. Within a few weeks, I felt myself physically and mentally become a better person because I felt so much better all the time. It has been very challenging at times, but whenever I think about eating a slice of pizza, I think back to how I felt before, and that is enough motivation to keep it up. This might not be the improvement every person needs in their life, but listen to your body to decide what changes you might need to make.
7. Anything else you would like to add that might encourage others on campus to make health efforts too?
Making dramatic lifestyle changes can seem daunting, but change doesn’t need to be all or nothing. Practice a lifestyle of everything in moderation and begin to make small changes in your health, and you will begin to notice a big difference!