PETALING JAYA: Staying in shape has never been more in vogue, and the young are now driving the trend.
While some still depend on good old common sense to decide on the types of exercises and diets best for them, many have scoured cyberspace for information on how to keep fit.
In fact, the internet has become the most well-used source of information on health and choices for millennials, often referred to as the “Wellness Generation” for their enthusiastic pursuit of fitness.
However, this relentless pursuit of tips for health online is a double-edged sword, according to dietician Phang Tze Ching.
Phang, who is with Assunta Hospital, said many millennials buy into ideas promoted by social media influencers, who claim certain diets and exercises would make them healthier individuals.
However, she told theSun that not all information is helpful. Some may not work while others may not even be safe, she added.
Nonetheless, she expressed delight that many young people have become more health-conscious and are now adopting healthy lifestyles.
“I think it’s fantastic that they are going the extra mile to look for health information online because you cannot possibly obtain all of that from school. However, the information should be filtered, or they should consider seeking professional advice to be safe,” she said.
Full-time student and part-time model Joanna Joseph (pix) said her journey to a healthier lifestyle started when she was a 15-year-old.
“I weighed about 60kg in primary school and went up to 104kg in secondary school. It was difficult to make friends as people judged me based on my looks,” she said.
“I could not even participate in any physical activity like sports because my weight caused breathing difficulties and irregular menstrual cycles,” she added.
She then turned to Google, which she now refers to as her “best friend”, to conduct research on dieting and exercise.
Her father had also been very supportive. He bought her a gym mat and a pair of dumbbells to get her started. The results have been fantastic, Joanna said.
“I used to suffer from night terrors that led to insomnia and depression, but exercising has helped to regulate my sleep pattern,” she said.
“Right after gym, I have something light, take a hot shower and then go to sleep,” she added.
Thanks to the new lifestyle, Joanna now tips the scale at a constant 59.8kg.
Public relations management student Lizayati Sulaiman counts on the tried and tested way to stay in shape.
“I love lifting weights so that’s where I started,” she said, but it was not all smooth sailing. She had to overcome her fear of getting injured while exercising.
“I even had a minor fracture on the ankle bone once and it took months to heal,” she added.
Staying in shape was also part of the pursuit of a childhood dream for Lizayati.
“I always dreamed of becoming a fitness model after watching all those models on TV,” she said.
She said exercises have not only helped to keep her in shape physically, but mentally as well.
“I have become more energetic. My sleep routine has improved so I sleep well at night and wake up well rested.”