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People should better utilize Florida’s optimal weather

Florida is blessed with warm weather from November to May, a time when more than half of the northern United States faces snow, freezing cold, chilly winds and frequent snowstorms. In Florida, the temperature on most days stays between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during these typically wintry months, which is one of the prime factors that attracts “snowbirds.”

It is unfortunate that many Floridians don’t take advantage of this extraordinary warm weather by exercising outdoors on a regular basis.

It is essential to work out every day regardless of a person’s age or gender. It is even better to exercise outside, breathe fresh air, soak in the sun and enjoy nature so the body can reap the benefits.

People with light skin need exposure to sunlight for at least 10 minutes per day, while people with darker skin need about half an hour, according to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. What better way to get vitamin D than from the sun? Floridians are lucky to receive an ample supply of sunlight, and it is surprising that very few people are aware of these facts.

In a society with a health-conscious media and the widespread knowledge that just 30 minutes of exercise can help people’s bodies, it is amazing how little people care about their health. Prevention is the answer and not the cure.

Exercise is something one should learn while growing up. It is the duty of parents to sow the seeds of regular exercise in the young minds of their children so it will become a natural part of their lives, like breathing, sleeping and eating.

Most people who work out do so within the confines of the gym and consider it an additional task, rather than a vital part of daily living. But if one starts at a young age, exercise can become a regular habit and not a chore.

To do some minimal working out, one does not have to be an athlete. Perhaps the easiest forms of exercise are walking, running or even biking, which can be done with family, friends or both.

The total area of USF’s Tampa campus is more than 1,700 acres of land. Students should feel fortunate to have such a wide campus, with many grassy fields and paved walking paths. The large campus itself represents a gym with beautiful flora, fauna and fabulous weather. A breath of fresh air can help students get back to their studies with a fresh perspective and improved concentration, and frequent walks around campus can refresh their tired brains. It is a shame how very few students utilize this setting.

Forging a link between body, mind and nature can be done right on campus and will benefit overall student health. Better health will benefit student academic performance and the University. It would be a wonderful sight to observe dozens of students taking morning strolls or jogging around the campus, enjoying the freshness of Mother Nature with both body and soul.

Sadia Ahmed is a graduate student pursuing a degree in electrical engineering.