With all of the academic challenges, social opportunities and planning for the future, many college students forget to pay attention to their physical wellbeing. Here are a few tips to help you graduate with both a degree and your health.
The newfound freedom you have in college is exhilarating but when it comes to food you need to be careful. Just because no one is nagging you to eat your vegetables doesn’t mean you should eat junk food at every meal. Your brain needs good nutrition to tackle all those upper-level classes you’re taking.
Many college students make the mistake of skipping breakfast. If you find yourself short on time in the morning, a nutritious smoothie is a simple and quick way to get some much-needed nutrition before you rush off to that early morning class.
Even dorm rooms that prohibit the use of hotplates will allow you to have a blender in your room. Just throw in some fruit, veggies and a nutritional boost like a red superfood powder and you’ll have started your day with the nourishment you need.
If you’re on the college dining plan, lunch and dinner will be convenient, but making them healthy will be up to you. Even if you absolutely cannot say no to that delicious slice of greasy pizza, pairing it with a salad instead of french fries can make all the difference.
And snagging an extra piece of fruit on your way out of the dining hall will give you a better late-night snack than a bag of chips.
If you’re living off-campus, the biggest challenges will be not skipping meals or turning to fast food for a quick fix. Embrace the kitchen in your apartment and learn to cook a few simple and healthy meals for dinners.
Get into the habit of prepping a healthy lunch in the evenings so that it’s ready to grab as you head out the door in the morning. Meal planning and food prep are the two most important skills for you to develop if you are fending for yourself for the first time.
Get Enough Sleep
College students are really busy. Between classes, studying, jobs, and social activities, it’s too easy to get into the mindset that sleep is optional. It isn’t.
If lack of sleep only made you unfocused and fatigued that would be bad enough, but not getting enough sleep on a consistent basis can contribute to serious illnesses and severe mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
To ensure that you get at least seven hours of sleep a night, you’ll need to sharpen your organizational skills and set priorities. Instead of all-night cram sessions, start studying for that big test early and in shorter increments of time.
Although social events are a big part of college life, so is learning to prioritize what is important. If you know you have a paper due in two days, you need to think twice about whether that party down the hall is the best choice tonight.
Find Time for Fitness
College students often feel that they just don’t have time to exercise, but you only need about 30 minutes of cardio three or four times a week to be healthy. And you can even break that up into 10 or 15 minute increments if you need to.
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Do 10 minutes of simple calisthenics in the morning or a vigorous yoga flow in your dorm room at night. Walk or bike to class instead of driving.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you have the chance. You can fit in all the exercise you need with a minimum amount of effort.
Getting through college successfully and healthily will depend on the choices you make. Use moderation in your eating habits, and time management and prioritization to get the sleep and exercise you need. You’ll graduate with healthy habits that will serve you for a lifetime.
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