The benefits of starting early on health


Next Level gym where O’hearn, Long and Horne all train and have started their lifestyle journeys. Source: Brooke Hoover

Brooke Hoover, Entertainment Editor


   Working out, healthy eating and stress relieving exercises seem unmanageable for many young adults.

   A healthy lifestyle is often attractive to many later on in life rather than early teenage years.   Senior Ty O’Hearn, spends most of his week at the gym averaging about 5 to 6 days a week.

   “My definition of a healthy lifestyle is just liking your body and who you are because there are a lot of different healthy lifestyles to live and some are more extreme than others,” O’Hearn said. 

   To many, starting a healthy lifestyle early on might seem hard but according to certified health coach, with a specialist in fitness nutrition, Kristen Horne, this may be the way to go.

   “I believe the sooner a person learns about healthy lifestyle choices and begins to implement them the better! There are so many ‘fad diets’ and misinformation out there about nutrition and exercise that can be very confusing for teens and young adults trying to figure out what is right for them. The earlier someone can become educated about nutrition and exercise the sooner that young person can begin to create a healthy lifestyle that they can stick to forever,” Horne said.

   Many may find it hard to find motivation for starting a healthy lifestyle and wonder what’s the point.

   Senior Bryce Long is on the wrestling team at North and like O’Hearn dedicates the majority of his week to the gym.

   “Physically, I wasn’t enjoying the way I looked and felt before dedicating myself to a healthy lifestyle. Because of this, I began going to the gym with one of my wrestling coaches where I got educated on how to create a healthy lifestyle for myself,” Long said. 

   O’Hearn has his own reasons for switching to a healthy lifestyle.

   “What I like about going to the gym is everybody is there for one reason which is to better themselves in their own ways. For me, it’s also been fun to make new friends at the gym since you see a lot of the same people every day…

   It makes me feel better and more confident in myself. Also, exercise can be a big release of stress, anger or anything else one is dealing with. It is a great way to make sure you’re not bundling all of that stress in,” O’Hearn said.

   Many may think that being an athlete means you know about a healthy lifestyle. Horne breaks this down.

   “I was immersed in an active lifestyle very early on. My parents introduced me to many sports and activities growing up and I loved it so I stayed active throughout my childhood. In high school, through training for sports, I found a love for exercise and became a group fitness instructor. Like most, I thought being healthy meant you exercised regularly and that’s all I needed. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with a thyroid autoimmune disease that I learned how important nutrition is to healing and keeping your body healthy. This is what motivated me to become a health coach and educate others on overall health,” Horne said.

   As a teen, many argue a healthy lifestyle is hard to maintain during this time of life.

   “For me, staying on a schedule is the hardest aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Making time is difficult with school, sports and work throughout my week. I feel like many teens have this same issue and what I have learned is to look at my week ahead of time and plan out when I’ll be able to go,” Long said.

   Similar to Long, Horne agrees that for a teen time management is the hardest skill to obtain.

   “Time, peer pressure and misinformation can be the hardest challenge while starting a healthy lifestyle. Exercise doesn’t have to be hours at the gym. It can mean parking away from the store or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Peer pressure can be harmful to a healthy lifestyle as well. It is hard to go against the grain and suggest something healthier when hanging out with friends. 

   Misinformation is the biggest challenge in creating a healthy lifestyle for teens. It is really scary what is out there and not safe. It is very important to learn accurate information about nutrition,” Horne said.

   Motivation can be challenging to find as a young adult. Some wonder how to get started.

   “A good way to begin is to make small changes that you can maintain forever to create real lifestyle changes. For example: eat less sugar each day, make at least half of the grains you eat whole grains, balance your meals with protein, carbs and fats, make half of your plate at each meal veggies and fruit, take time each day for stress management such as breathing exercises,” Horne said.

   Long has learned many things throughout his fitness journey.

   “You’re not going to see results in the first couple of weeks. You have to keep going. Keeping a positive outlook on what you’re doing will help you keep going and continue to make progress with the goals you set,” Long said

   Similar to Long, O’Hearn has found what a fitness journey has taught him.

   “Just get started and have fun with it. Working out doesn’t have to be torture, you can make it really enjoyable,” O’Hearn said.

   There’s a couple of things that Long has taught himself to keep in mind throughout finding a healthy lifestyle that’s right for him.

   “The most important thing to think about is setting goals. Once you reach those goals try to challenge yourself with new ones. For example, I am comfortable with my gym routine and in a few months, I plan on losing the weight I had to gain for wrestling. I plan to focus on creating more rounded meals which is a key factor in weight loss,” Long said.