OBERLIN, OH– Everyone has heard of “The Freshman 15,” for some people, it is all anyone can talk about their freshman year, for others, it is barely mentioned; regardless, it is a looming presence in most students first year of college.
Something in relation to this that is hardly talked about, but is still expected of us, is how to stay healthy in college. Being a student is a full time job with classes and homework and studying, but on top of that, most people also have part time jobs because not only is college expensive, but so is living. So right now we have classes, homework, studying, and jobs, but wait, there’s more: extracurriculars!
College campuses have so many clubs and groups to join and if you are anything like me, you want to join them all because let’s face it, who doesn’t want to learn how to play chess, sing acapella, nerd out about Harry Potter, and fight human trafficking? All of these things already put me way past my quota for free time in the week, but we are still forgetting one more thing, being social. Now yes, you can be social while doing most, if not all, of those things listed above, but we all know that is not what I mean when talking about having a social life at college. So the question remains: how can I stay healthy at college?
There seems to be no time left in the day to go to the gym and workout with all of our commitments and responsibilities, it can be difficult to eat healthy in dining halls, especially when sometimes we do not know what it is exactly that we are eating, and when in a rush (which we almost always are with our schedules), we tend to grab the easiest things, which are more likely than not unhealthy for us. Now I am not saying I know all about being healthy at school, but I do have a few tips that help me when healthy choices are inaccessible or time is scarce, and thus, might help you:
1. Plan out snacks.
While we may not have a lot of choice in what we eat for meals, if you think ahead of time for that moment after class where your stomach is yelling at you to feed it, you can make sure you have some carrots, or an apple, instead of chips or candy.
I know most of us are extremely busy and short for time during the day, but if you have the time to walk from your dorm to class do it! You can even use it as a study break by just taking a short walk around the block. Walking is the best exercise you can get and it can really help to clear your head and maybe even help you figure out that last problem in your problem set or how to end your paper.
3. Drink more water.
Everyone always says to drink more water, and it is so true. Get a reusable water bottle and bring it with you everywhere. Not only will it keep you satisfied during those long lecture, but it will also keep you from buying sodas and juices because it allows you to always have ample free water from the fountains across campus.
4. Be conscious how of you use your time.
As I have said before, we are all very, very busy, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have fifteen or twenty minutes here and there to go for a run, walk, or bike ride, or to go to the gym and lift or do abs. It does not matter how much or little time you have if you make the most of it. Five minutes is better than none.
Being a student means constantly sitting, at lectures, in classes, in labs, or studying. Make an effort to do some stretches in the morning after waking up, after a long class, or as a study break. Get your body and blood moving by just doing a few stretches a day and it can help a lot.
Like I said, I do not know everything about being healthy in college, and I still struggle with this all of the time, but if you start doing even just one of these tips, I have no doubts you will see a change in how you, and your body, feel.