Many college students, amid classes, homework, meetings and maintaining a social life, forget to maintain their health. In college, physical education and team sports are not built into the daily schedule unlike when they are in high school. This means that it’s up to the students to start building their own fitness and nutrition habits. It can be difficult because there will be never-ending opportunities to make excuses and you will need to consistently choose your own health.
If you are in college or will be starting your college career soon, you need to keep in mind that you will never have more free time and fewer obligations than you do before. Therefore, you need to make time to have a healthy lifestyle in college and that is also a start in setting up for choosing a healthy lifestyle as an adult. To help you out, here are some of the best healthy living tips for college students.
1. Eat Healthy Foods
Having a healthy diet can help boost the immune systems of students and it can also help them maintain a healthy weight and improve their overall health. However, it is sometimes difficult to eat healthy in college because your meal choices usually consist of cafeteria or fast foods restaurants. But there are ways you can do to make adjustments in your eating habits.
First is to never skip breakfast. This can be challenging, especially when you have an early class to attend but you can simply grab a banana or a granola bar. Also, avoid skipping meals.
If you choose to eat at the cafeteria, try to look for vegetables and fiber-rich foods. College dining halls are usually filled with lots of fattening and unhealthy foods. But you can make it a habit to check the salad bar first and fill your plate with veggies and lean proteins such as fish and chicken. You can also grab some fruit to go if there’s a fruit bowl in the dining hall.
2. Visit the Grocery Store
It’s also a great idea to stock your dorm room with healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts. These foods can help you in managing your metabolism and keeping your nutrition on track. Aside from that, buying healthy snacks from the grocery store will also help you save money and manage your dining hall meals. These snacks are also better and healthier compared to ordering take out or reaching for unhealthy food at the dining hall.
3. Have an Exercise Routine
College is a great time to figure out the kind of exercise you enjoy. It can be running, swimming, yoga, or workout classes. Try to see what exercise you enjoy the most and get in a routine of doing it a few times every week. You can use it as your study break or something that you can do when you wake up in the morning.
Another way to exercise is to walk to class but this depends on your class schedule. There are also many colleges that offer physical fitness classes and intramural sports programs which you can take advantage of for a fun way to exercise.
You can also find some work out buddies and turn work out into a hangout. Try to find some running buddies or maybe people you can go to the gym with you. It is a great way to get physically fit while spending time with a friend doing a healthy and productive activity.
4. Drink Lots of Water
It is important to always stay hydrated because it can help your concentration and keep you from overeating as well. Drinking plenty of water can also replenish your body and give you more energy throughout the day. Therefore, always bring some water with you while you walk to class and always choose to drink water instead of soda.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Most college students are tempted to pull an all-nighter to study for an exam or others stay out until 3 am partying with friends. However, these should not become a habit. It’s because sleep deprivation can lead to reduced brain function, headache, and fatigue. As a college student, you need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep to improve your overall health. Try to take short naps during the day and stick to a schedule as well. Before bedtime, keep your room dark and quiet and avoid drinking coffee or eating.
6. Get a Flu Vaccine
To avoid flu and stay healthy through the winter, it’s important to get a flu vaccine. There are many colleges that offer flu shots and screenings for cheaper prices. It is better and cheaper in the long run compared to getting the flu later.
7. Avoid Coffee and Other Sugary Drinks
Caffeinated drinks like coffee, soda, and energy drinks can be helpful when studying or doing late-night homework. However, these drinks can be very harmful in the long run. It’s because the combination of caffeine and sugar in these drinks can cause you to crash and feel bad after. If you need some energy boost, you can simply eat foods that are rich in protein and fiber.
8. Avoid Smoking
Many college students smoke even though they’ve head the many life-threatening risks smoking poses. In fact, even smoking occasionally can still put you at risk of illnesses such as lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema. If you are smoking and you want to quit, you can go to your student health center for programs that can assist you.
9. Always Wear Sunscreen
It’s important to always wear sunscreen, especially during spring break when most college students go to the beach. Spending time under the sun is not bad, but you need to make sure that you protect yourself. Always wear sunscreen daily, especially when you know that you will be spending lots of time outside. You should also avoid tanning beds because that can put you at risk of skin cancer.
10. Have Time to Relax
College students are usually pretty stressed with lots of classes and exams. But you also need to relax and have some down-time to stay healthy. When you are always stressed, it can cause you many problems which can adversely affect your health. Try to create a routine and give yourself regular breaks. You can do this by reading a book, watching television shows, picking up a hobby, and hanging out with friends.
College life is indeed challenging because of the loads of work and responsibilities that you have to face each day. However, those things should not become hindrances in healthy living. Even when you have a hectic schedule in college, by following the tips we shared, you can still live healthily.