Fall semester is right around the corner, and with it comes all the exciting aspects of college. Whether you’re a freshmen making new friends and striving to get all A’s, or a returning student reuniting with old friends and joining new clubs, college can be some of the best years of your life. However, a new school year can also mean new habits, resolutions or goals. If you’re looking for ways to remain healthy, ward off the dreaded “Freshman 15” and have the best year yet, continue reading! Below are five tips to help you stay healthy at college.
Eating breakfast at college and throughout life is one of the most beneficial and important habits to follow. Some studies show that eating breakfast keeps you from petering out during the day and getting too hungry and overeating later on in the afternoon and evening. Furthermore, eating breakfast can help you make healthier choices later in the day. Your body needs fuel in the morning, and with a busy college schedule, eating breakfast could get you through an important class or exam. Some easy breakfasts to whip up in the dorm are oatmeal with berries or honey and granola, toast with peanut butter and bananas, or an apple, yogurt, and a handful of almonds. Skipping meals in general leads to poor habits and negative consequences, so eat breakfast to stay motivated and vibrant during the day.
Walk to Class
Walking to class is an easy and effortless form of exercise and offers tremendous benefits. If you attend a large campus, some type of bus service is probably provided. However, walking to class instead of riding the campus bus will keep you healthier throughout the school year. Staying active by walking throughout the day has been shown to reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, stroke and breast cancer. Moreover, walking wakes up your mind because it enhances blood flow to the brain. Every college student needs a quick brain reset every once in a while, and walking is a great way to achieve this. Walk to class and take a short walk after a difficult exam or rough day to reset your brain and stay sane throughout the year.
Keep Healthy Snacks Around
Eating healthy snacks actually improves your overall health. College students get hungry often, so choose healthy snacks when the hunger pains kick in. Frequent healthy snacks have been shown to curb cravings, boost brainpower, give you energy, fight weight gain, and regulate mood. These amazing benefits will certainly help keep you healthy. Some examples of healthy snacks are carrots and hummus, apples, oranges, yogurt and granola, almonds, or celery and peanut butter. If you don’t have time to make your own healthy snack, don’t worry. Stop by the nearest dining hall or on campus convenience store and grab their veggie container full of fresh peppers, celery, carrots, cucumbers and ranch dressing. Soon, all your friends will want to join you in your healthy lifestyle!
Make a Plan for Exercise
Whether you’re an incoming freshmen or an upper class senior, exercising is an extremely important aspect of remaining healthy. With such busy schedules, it can seem difficult to fit in workouts at times. However, if you come up with a plan, accomplishing that long run or yoga class will be immensely easier. Create an exercise plan and make specific goals. The goals can be as simple as working out four times a week and stretching after every workout, or as difficult as running a half marathon. Furthermore, grab a workout buddy to keep you motivated. On the day you have a horribly hard test, having a commitment to that workout buddy will make it more likely you get to the gym to release that frustration out on the leg press. If you have a solid exercise plan that works, expand into new territories. Join intramurals, sports clubs, or take an exercise class. Many campuses offer unique exercise classes like spinning, Pilates, barre classes and more. Take advantage of the new opportunities college offers, and try one new class every week!
Get a Full Night’s Rest Whenever Possible
A college student… getting enough rest? Yeah right! But truly, getting a full night’s rest is one of the most important aspects when it comes to staying healthy. Usually people need 7 to 9 hours of rest a night to fully recover from a day and reset the body. Beyond weakening the immune system and causing drowsy days, lack of sleep is related to an increase in hunger and appetite. A lack of sleep elevates the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates hunger and decreases leptin, which helps you feel full. Sleep regulates many more important hormones as well, so getting enough is extremely beneficial for your health. With papers, assignments, tough classes, working out, eating, and hanging out with friends, sleep is probably one of the last things on your to-do list. Nonetheless, try to get a full night’s rest whenever possible to be your healthiest you!
College students have so many things to worry about, they sometimes begin to value healthy lifestyles less. With busy class schedules, clubs, organizations and relaxation in the front of their minds, it can be easy to forget about remaining healthy. However, follow the tips listed above, and you can still enjoy college while staying healthy. Creating a healthy lifestyle at college is very important and these tips can help put you on the right path to develop lifelong healthy habits!
Photo Credit: Laura Asbury