Between classes, club meetings, homework, friends, and maybe even a part-time job, going to college can be as exhausting as running a marathon. You almost need to devise a training plan to avoid running down your immune system. Here are ten ways to keep your body strong and healthy during the school year.
Do It in Twos…
Even the animals on Noah’s ark understood the power of pairs. Exercise is more fun when you have a buddy with whom to run or work out.. As an added bonus, you get to multi-task by socializing while you’re exercising.
…Or in a Group
You don’t have to be a jock to join an intramural sports team — anything from dodge ball to tennis to flag football. Playing on an intramural team will not only boost your immune system, it will also increase your social network. The frequent practices and games will ensure you move your body on a regular basis.
College cafeterias can be as caloric as the Hometown Buffet. Avoid the temptation of bacon cheeseburgers, pasta with creamy sauces, and all-you-can-eat dessert bars, and opt for healthier choices, such as whole wheat pasta primavera, veggie soups, big salads, and deli sandwiches layered with leafy lettuce on whole wheat bread.
The Joy of Cooking
If your college does not force you to join the meal plan, you can improve your health and save money by making meals from scratch. Simple, inexpensive ingredients, such as rice, pasta, beans, lean meats, prepared sauces, and fresh or frozen vegetables, can be quickly combined in infinite tantalizing combinations if cooked and seasoned properly.
If late night studying causes you to crave pizza, potato chips, or other comfort foods, be prepared. You’ll more easily resist the urge to splurge on high calorie foods if you keep a supply of healthy snacks on hand, such as nuts, fruits, or even pita chips and hummus. Sip water or green tea instead of guzzling sugary, chemical-filled energy drinks.
Bike riding is not just good exercise; it can be the most efficient way to get to classes. If you live off campus, biking can also help you avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot and save big bucks on a parking pass.
Give It a Rest
With the busy schedule of most college students, it’s no wonder the average student gets only six to seven hours of sleep a night – a far cry from the desired eight. Prioritize sleep to get the shut eye your body craves and needs.
Exercise activities such as Yoga and Pilates are not just great workouts, they’re also very relaxing and stress reducing. Some colleges even offer one- or two-unit Yoga and Pilates classes as electives.
Say B-Bye to the Booze
A glass of red wine a day may provide some health benefits, but tequila shots and keg stands? Not so much. Consuming alcohol in moderation (or not at all) will prevent unnecessary weight gain and keep your head clear, and your liver will thank you later in life.
See a Shrink
Between classes, friends, and work, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Before anxious feelings overtake you, make an appointment with a school counselor or psychologist. Many universities even offer free counseling sessions