College students face many day-to-day challenges – staying healthy through diet and exercise, maintaining good mental health, and keeping up relationships can be very difficult for students saddled with daily exams, quizzes, and projects. Thankfully, a few simple steps can be taken to make healthy living a breeze. Incorporating a few minutes of exercise into your daily routine through walking or biking is a great way to stay fit, and learning to cook will give you the tools you need to make healthy dietary choices. Keep reading to find out more about staying healthy in college.
Nutrition and Eating Right
With a limited budget and 24/7 access to fast food and snacks, college students can face big challenges while trying to eat right. Learning how to cook is one of the best things that college kids can do for their health. Students are less likely to go out to eat during the week if they have planned several nutritious meals in advance, and having the skills needed to put together a meal can be useful for years to come and will help you stay fit in the long run. It’s also important to keep a variety of healthy snacks on hand. Eating raw veggies, fruits, and nuts between meals will give you the energy you need to tackle those study sessions.
Getting enough exercise is vital for students to have a healthy body and sharp mind. Many students find it difficult to stick to an exercise routine, so it’s important to realize that exercise does not have to happen all at once. Walking or biking to class is a great way to keep in shape during the semester. A person needs about 30 minutes of cardio three times a week to stay healthy, and that time can be broken up throughout the day. Ten minutes of jumping jacks in the morning, a bike ride to class, and sit-ups at night will meet the cardio requirement for your day. Most schools have state-of-the-art gyms that offer a variety of group exercise classes. Finding a form of exercise that you enjoy is the ticket to staying healthy while in college.
Studying regularly has been shown to be much easier on the brain than cramming for tests. When students cram the night before an exam, it puts a huge amount of stress on the brain. Intense studying forces the brain to work much harder than it should, leaving lots of room for error – like completely forgetting the material during the exam. It’s much healthier to study for short periods on a regular basis. When longer study sessions are in order, frequent study breaks are key to maintaining good mental health. Get up, walk around the room, and stretch your arms, neck, and back. This will improve your blood flow and help you concentrate.
Healthy Social Life
College students need to learn how to balance a healthy social life with their academic studies. A great way to met new people is to join academic clubs. Most schools offer a number of organizations for everything from language arts to chemistry. Creating a study group is another fun way to get to know other people in your classes (and it’s been proven that helping others to study helps cement your own knowledge). Joining sports teams is another great way to get in some exercise and make friends with similar interests.
Avoiding Alcohol and Drugs
The backbone of any healthy lifestyle is the avoidance of drugs and alcohol. This can be accomplished first and foremost by choosing friends with similar values. Students are much more likely to try drugs and alcohol if their friends do them on a regular basis, and hanging out with friends who choose to abstain from these substances is one way to stay on the right path. If you are going to be around friends who are drinking, volunteer to be the designated driver. You’re not only dedicating the night to getting your friends home safely, but you’ll also avoid any possible peer pressure that might happen when hanging out with friends who are drinking in a group setting.
Maintaining Meaningful Relationships
Just because you start a new life in college doesn’t mean that you should forget about old high school friends. It’s important to keep in contact with old friends and family members while on this new college journey. Tech-savvy students can keep in contact with old friends and family through Facebook, text messaging, Skype, and email. Weekly Skype dates are perfect for catching up with old friends and touching base with parents. Making an effort to see old friends during holiday breaks is another great way to show that you still care about them. Making new friends and nurturing older relationships can be tricky, but it’s worth it to keep meaningful people in your life.
- 10 Tips for Eating Healthy in College
- Healthy Eating for College Students on a Budget (PDF)
- 101 Health and Wellness Tips for College Students
- College Students and Healthy Eating/Exercising/Weight Management
- 101 Healthy Eating Tips for the Busy College Student
- Building a Healthy Relationship From the Start
- How to Avoid Gaining the Freshman 15
- Getting Exercise in College
- 20 Exercise Tips
- Avoiding the Freshman 15