How to Stay Healthy as a College Student
Going away to college for the first time opens the door for potential health issues that can occur later in life. College brings about a unique list of challenges that many students aren’t familiar with. For instance, having a plethora of food options on a whim or a new schedule that can be extremely stressful can potentially lead to health problems.
Staying healthy in college is not only beneficial for your body, but also for your mind. Finding time to focus on your health and wellness can help you find success throughout your college endeavors. Find out a few of the simplest ways that can help you remain healthy during your time in college.
Tip 1. Focus on Your Diet
It is called the “freshman 15” for a reason. Students in college, especially those who are on a meal plan, have the ability to load up on a variety of food offered as part of the tuition. This means falling into the temptation of ice cream every night after dinner or sugary cookies with every lunch is not far-fetched. There are even campuses throughout the country that have entire restaurants built in, offering calorie-laden meal options.
When you focus on your diet during college, make sure that nutrition is a welcomed part of your life. This will help you succeed in keeping weight off and keeping your body strong. A few tips to stay healthy involving your diet include:
- Properly portioning your food.
- Changing up the foods you eat to include fresher options.
- Always eating a healthy breakfast.
- Drinking water with every meal.
- Not combatting stress with eating.
- Limiting sugary sodas and juices.
Tip 2. Avoid Alcohol
When new students enter college, they open themselves up to a variety of temptations, one of which is alcohol. Many campuses throughout the United States have unsolicited parties, which provide alcohol freely.
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Alcohol, however, is not only a calorie-ridden beverage with few, if any, health benefits. It also has the ability to cause some serious health problems. Binge drinking, which is commonly associated with college students, should be avoided at all costs in order to prevent hangovers as well as necessary health risks. If you are of age, make sure to drink in moderation, and never overdo it, so that you can have a good time without sacrificing your health.
Tip 3. Make Sure To Exercise
Staying healthy in college will always include keeping an exercise regimen, even if you have a busy course schedule. Even with a heavy class schedule, make sure to exercise at least 20 minutes every day. Try jogging from class-to-class or running up and down the stairs of your dorm building.
Most college campuses make it easy for students to exercise, with a variety of options available such as a gym, pool, physical fitness classes and intramural sports programs. Students can easily take advantage of the various options to stay physically active, many of which won’t even cost extra for the student.
Tip 4. Get Enough Sleep
It is a common misconception that all-nighters are synonymous to being a college student. However, with just a bit of planning and advanced work, all-nighters will not be necessary. Sleep deprivation is common among college students, especially those who think that staying out late and being socially active is more important that studying. Issues that can arise from sleep deprivation, include:
- Weight loss.
- Weight gain.
- Reduced brain function.
Make sure that you are getting enough sleep, anywhere between seven to nine hours per night. If you cannot get a consistent amount of sleep straight through, then make sure to stay rested throughout the day and also get in a nap here or there. Sticking to a sleep schedule can be most beneficial.
Tip 5. Avoid Unnecessary Illnesses
Illnesses tend to run rampant in college campuses, especially because of the close quarters and communal living. Thousands of students are breathing the same air sharing the same classrooms and sleeping in the same buildings. This can lead to a disastrous amount of contaminants and the ease of colds and viruses spreading quickly. A few tips that can help you avoid unnecessary illnesses involve the following:
- Wash your hands often.
- See a doctor when symptoms occur.
- Avoid going to class or other social gatherings.
- Avoid sharing beverages or food.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Always get a flu shot.
- Keep immunizations up to date.
- Avoid excessively touching your mouth, nose and eyes.
Tip 6. Keep Stress In Check
With a new set of college courses and a higher level of expectations, stress has become an issue for many new students. While a lot of the stress that accompanies being a college student is unavoidable, there are many ways in which they can keep stress in check long term.
Whether it is participating in meditation and yoga on campus, finding some necessary downtime in between studying, spending time with friends or simply just being realistic in your expectations, stress can be kept at a minimum. One of the best ways to avoid stress overall is by incorporating time-management skills, which can help create a necessary balance each semester. You should speak with someone if you are dealing with depressions as a result of student stresses.
Tip 7. Focus On Sexual Health
College becomes a place for many young people to explore their sexuality as they grow and mature. However, during this exploration, students should be very much aware of ways in which they can maintain health. Certain things that students can do to safely enjoy their sexuality, include:
- Getting regularly tested.
- Always using protection.
- Having open communication with partners.
- Getting exams regularly.
- Not participating in anything that you are uncomfortable with.
There are many college campuses that have free or low-cost health clinics available to students in order to maintain sexual health to the best of their ability.
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