Posted at 12:45 p.m., May 4, 2015

Tipping the scale

That extra weight you’re carrying around might be more than textbooks.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 62.4 percent of Americans from 18 to 44 are overweight. The “freshman 15” might be sticking around students’ lives and arteries long after graduation.

To the average new student on campus, every vending machine is a cheap meal, and every break is used to meet new friends rather than be active.

In 2014, Wyoming was the 25th healthiest state, according to the 2014 America’s Health Ranking, moving down from the 17th healthiest state in 2013. Why is the health of the state dropping, and how do we fix it?

Carrying the weight

“We have to get what we put into our bodies right first,” said Bryce Berry, owner of the new Cheyenne fitness center, Gold’s Gym. “College kids don’t generally eat the greatest, and they need to watch their intake first.” A certified athletic trainer for Smart Sports, Meghann Brewer, added alcohol and drug use are common factors for health concerns in college students.

Berry recommended the app My Fitness Pal for people trying to get a handle on nutrition. It gives the user a breakdown of what he should be eating for the day based on his health goals. The nutritional information for the day has two main parts: the calorie consumption goal and the division of carbohydrates, protein and fats.

The more the app is used, the easier it gets. The free app remembers past meals and gives you feedback on unhealthy choices.

Additionally, most phones possess a built-in motion processor that allows the app roughly to track the steps the user takes. The physical activity results in changing the nutrition goals for the day. The app is also able to sync to fitness monitors such as the Jawbone and Fitbit accessories.

Once nutrition is under control, physical activity can be tackled.

Some 33 percent of young adults with some college or an Associate of Arts degree participated in no physical activity regularly, according to the current Statistical Abstract of the United States. However, this is down from 2006, when 34.7 percent of young adults with some college experience did not participate in physical activity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control’s Wyoming profile, 22.5 percent of the adults in Wyoming don’t participate in any physical activity.

This lack of activity has led to 62.4 percent of Americans in the range of 18 to 44 years old to be overweight, according to the U.S. Census.

But hope is not lost!

There is a solution

Cheyenne boasts numerous fitness centers, some of which run specials that could help a college student put a sneaker forward on the path to becoming healthy again.

“We periodically run specials, flat rates for a period of time rather than monthly. Just keep an eye out for them,” said the general manager of Smart Sports, Michael Robinson. Smart Sports offers many different classes. Robinson said one of the most popular for students is the boot camp class, which is offered in varying levels. The class varies each time but focuses on cardio and resistance training.

Gold’s Gym also offers a variety of classes, including a cycling program; Bodypump, a resistance training class; Bodyflow, a class similar to Pilates; and Bodycombat, a high-intensity cardio class similar to Zumba. The center also offers private training and semiprivate training in which an employee helps walk a member or group of members through their workouts.

“And membership comes out to less than a dollar a day,” owner Berry said.

But students don’t have to hit the gym to be active. According to the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Wyoming has some of the cleanest air in the country, topped only by Alaska. Students can go outside and get some good ol’ vitamin D. Cheyenne offers multiple parks in addition to the Greenway path, which nearly surrounds the entire city.

So go lace up those sneakers and get active.