College students don’t always have the time to make the right choices when it comes to living healthy. They are constantly preoccupied with the endless amounts of work and commitments during the school year. However, by making a few simple changes in your daily routine, you can take a step in the right direction towards living a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some great tips you can apply to your everyday schedule:
- Take the stairs- It is so easy to jump in an elevator to get to a different floor. Simply take the stairs every day to make a positive impact on your health. Some of the time, the stairs will even get you to your destination faster than if you had waited for an elevator. Taking the stairs will get you to class on time and make you healthier in the process.
- Skip the dessert- Dining halls across the country offer an abundance of tasty desserts at every meal. It is super tempting to grab a cookie or a scoop of ice cream at the end of every meal, but it’s not always the healthiest choice. Substituting fresh fruit for a sweet treat like cookies or cake at the end of a meal is a healthy habit to get into. Eating desserts in moderation throughout the week is fine, just watch the frequency.
- Schedule time for sleep- Making time for sleep is a necessity to survive while away at school. It’s so easy to supplement sleep with coffee and naps throughout the day, but that is bad for your mental and physical health. When you schedule your week, set a specific bedtime so you will get a full night’s rest. Though sometimes you may feel like you might need to pull an all-nighter to study for a huge midterm, you will actually do better academically if you get a full night’s rest before an exam. Managing your time so you study enough and get enough sleep is a great skill to prefect. Try to get a full night of sleep on a regular basis to improve your overall health.
- Eat breakfast- Any health professional will tell you breakfast is a very important meal of the day, yet it is common for college students is to skip it. As busy students, making pancakes every morning is not very realistic, but that does not mean that other ready-to-eat foods won’t do the job. Grabbing a piece of fruit and a yogurt on your way to class, or making a quick bowl of instant oatmeal, can work just as well. Preparing something the night before that you can grab on your way out the door is a good idea if you a have tight morning schedule. Sometimes, students who have meal plans find it hard to have access to breakfast before class. If your dining hall allows it, take a small cup of yogurt and a piece of fruit to save for the next morning.
- Drink more water- Some students do not drink enough water in a day. For the average person, the daily recommendation for water is eight 8-ounce glasses. If you are an athlete or have a very active lifestyle, the recommendation is higher. If you feel thirsty, listen to your body and drink some water! A great way to increase your water intake is to substitute water for soda. Soda has no nutritional value as it is loaded with added sugars and empty calories. Other ways to include more water in your day are to grab a glass with every meal, carry a full water bottle around, and set goals. If you prefer a beverage with some taste, try infused water. It is okay to treat yourself to a soda a few times a week, but if you develop the habit of simply drinking water, it will enhance your general health.
- Relax- Students are constantly stressed out trying to make all the deadlines that school demands, but every few hours, your body and mind need a rest to recharge a little. Taking a break, even if it’s for 30 minutes, can be very beneficial in reducing stress. A little stress is healthy, but a high-stress lifestyle puts your health at risk as it increases your chances for heart and autoimmune diseases, as well as skin and sleep problems. Allowing yourself time to rest your mind will not only refresh you, it will increase your efficiency and energy to tackle the rest of the day.
These are just a few easy healthy habits to incorporate into your routine. Try to add one at a time, and as soon as you master one habit, move on to the next. Just a little extra effort and practicing moderation is all you need to be a healthier individual!
Photo Credit: Michelle Przybilla