Health and Fitness

Universidade de Vigo
March 4, 2019

¡Hola de nuevo! Vuelvo con otra entrada en el blog sobre mi estancia (stay) en Vigo, pero esta vez estoy aquí para hablar de la salud y la forma física en España.  Así que, sin más preámbulos (without further ado), empecemos.

The Universidade de Vigo had a vast array (variedad) of sport opportunities on offer including swimming classes and gym sessions in the on-campus facilities, not to mention the fact that practically every weekend a group of students along with other members of the community left the university campus in a minibus heading for somewhere beautiful in Galicia, taking in all the scenery whilst on a hike (una caminata).

Como parte del curso de gallego en la universidad, uno de los fines de semana fui de excursión con mis compañeros de clase a la Fervenza do Toxa, una de las cascadas (waterfalls) más altas de España, que se encuentra en lo profundo de un hermoso bosque.  Este viaje fue particularmente memorable, ya que recuerdo estar particularmente cansado cuando llegamos a la base de la cascada, pero aún así me sorprendió (amazed) la vista.

The awe-inspiring Fervenza do Toxa

When it comes to health and fitness, however, exercise isn’t the only thing that’s important – habits that affect your health such as smoking (fumar) as well as diet and nutrition need to be considered, too.  From my point of view, the smoking culture in Spain was very different to that in the UK – it was much more commonplace (habitual) – and the data to be found online seems to agree with that.  According to the Tobacco Atlas, 31.3% of male adult Spaniards versus 19.9% of male adult Brits smoke.  This sad difference is definitely one that I noticed during my time in Spain, but at least Spain’s statistic isn’t as bad as the 47.6% of Chinese adult men who smoke, eh?!

Otra diferencia importante que encontré fue desde la perspectiva de la dieta.  Como vegano en Gran Bretaña, la vida es bastante fácil.  Hoy en día, todos los supermercados atienden (cater) a los veganos, y casi todos los restaurantes también pueden atendernos.  La situación no era totalmente la misma en España, o al menos en mi parte de ella.  Eso no quiere decir que sea imposible vivir como vegano o con cualquier otra restricción dietética en España (¡sobreviví!), sólo que no es tan fácil como me hubiera gustado (as I would have liked).  Es muy importante decir, sin embargo, que la situación en Vigo no refleja (reflects) la situación en toda España.  ¡En Valencia, por ejemplo, aparentemente hay muchas opciones para los veganos!

One of the numerous vegan options at Malak Bistró in nearby Santiago de Compostela

The final important subtopic of health and fitness I’d like to discuss in this blog is one that is sadly both heavily stigmatised (estigmatizada) and often overlooked (pasado por alto) – mental health (salud mental).  If you have a mental health problem back home in the UK, chances are it’s not going to disappear just because of the Spanish sun (not that there was much of that in Galicia!).  Equally, if you haven’t ever struggled with mental health before, the challenges associated with moving to another country, finding yourself in a totally new and different culture, being totally surrounded by people speaking another language, all whilst trying to quickly make friends may result in you experiencing a wide range of new emotions.  The good news is all of this is totally fine and to be expected.  Just know many, many people have been abroad on both study and work placements before and many, many more are going to go abroad for those same reasons in future – support (apoyo) is out there and you’re definitely not weak for wanting some.  I’m aware that for you the Year Abroad may be in the very distant (or even in the not going to happen) future, either way settling down for the afternoon with a nice cup of tea and a spot of TV from home does not mean you’ve failed.  Far from it, in fact, as it was in moments like these where I began to realise how much my Spanish had actually improved and how much I, as a person, was developing.

La próxima vez voy a hablar de algunos de los festivales y celebraciones que tuvieron lugar (took place) durante mi estancia en Vigo, así como (as well as) de algunos que lamentablemente me perdí ya que tendrán lugar más tarde durante el año.  Espero que hayáis disfrutado de esta segunda entrada del blog.  ¡Hasta la próxima!

Ethan 🙂

Universidade de Vigo
March 4, 2019

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