Five Tips for Staying Healthy in College

College can be a stressful time for students of all calibers. While keeping up with school work and extracurriculars is important, so is maintaining a healthy lifestyle on and off-campus. In this article, I will be presenting you with tips and tricks on how to stay healthy. Of course, it is important to remember that everyone is different, and what works for some may not work for others. So listen to your body and have fun being healthy!

Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!

Exercising is one of the most important activities that you can do throughout the day (besides the obvious: sleeping and eating). The Department of Health and Human Services at The Mayo Clinic recommends that you get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity each day. That’s completely doable and doesn’t always require going to the gym or lifting weights! Walking to and from classes, doing yoga, or taking other workout classes offered on your campus are all great options. Don’t be afraid to try new things; even if it’s your first time doing a particular workout, it is ok to not be an expert. Take your time, enjoy it, and make a workout routine for yourself that is reasonable and attainable!

What to do if you do decide to go to the gym

Most campuses offer a gym membership that’s included in tuition, so you can easily take advantage of the available amenities. If you do decide to go, here are the 1-hour workout routines that have been most beneficial for me. Feel free to alter them in any way you see fit!

  • 30 minutes of cardio/30 minutes of Strength training (use weights and machines to get the most out of your muscles!)

  • 15 minutes on the stationary bike/15 minutes of arms/15 minutes of glutes and legs/15 minutes of core

  • 60 minutes of strength training divided by 4 different circuit groups

Any exercise for each subsection of the body will work! As long as you feel the burn then you know you are making a difference!

Don’t rely on dining hall food

Yes, the dining is convenient, but what you don’t know is how they prepare the food. The food offered is not always up to industry standards, and often times has unhealthy additives inside. Instead, you can go to your nearest grocery store to purchase some healthy snacks and dinner alternatives. For example, near LMU’s campus there is a Whole Foods that takes the Flexi dollars your parents can load onto your One Card. Whole Foods offers a wide variety of healthy options at their salad/hot bar that are all delicious. Not all meals have to be eaten here, of course, but it definitely can diversify your diet. I love the pot roast with a side of wedge potatoes and stir fry. It may seem difficult to find alternatives to the dining hall, but most of the time the solutions are really not too far away. Investigate the best places to eat near your campus and go start enjoying the new meals you can eat there!  

Snacking Alternatives

I love snacks! Throughout the day, I enjoy a variety of different types of crackers, hummus, fruits, and veggies. It’s completely normal to have snacks throughout your day; starving yourself up until you eat your next meal actually harms your body more than just eating healthy snacks as your day goes along. I have found that these snacks I’ve shared below often satisfy my cravings for their unhealthier alternatives, and I challenge you to do the same! Find something delicious, but make it something that also fuels your body. Here are the snacks that I gravitate towards most on a daily basis:

  • Veggies: Celery sticks/snap peas/carrots with hummus

  • Crackers: Simple Mills Almond Flour crackers/pretzels/cauliflower tortilla chips

  • Fruits: apples/peaches/clementines/berries

  • Dips: hummus/salsa/almond butter/peanut butter

  • Other: applesauce/fruit-sticks/granola

Additionally, make it a goal to find better alternatives to sodas and sugary drinks. I personally love sparkling water because it has a ton of flavor and bubbles, but without all of the added sugar and chemicals. Also, drinking at least half your weight in ounces of water is essential for maintaining healthy digestion, clear skin, and an overall clean lifestyle. Find a cute water bottle that you know you will encourage you to drink water and carry it around campus with you!

 

Take time for yourself

I can give you lists and lists of exercises to do or healthy snacks to enjoy, but if you aren’t taking any time to practice self-care on a weekly (preferably daily) basis, then none of these tips really matter. Take at least 10 minutes out of your day to check in with yourself and see how you’re doing. Journaling is a great resource for this type of stress relief and reflection. Or find somewhere to just sit and watch the sunset and reflect on the events of the day (the latter option is definitely the most popular among me and my friends). Whatever you do, make sure you are taking time for YOU!

If you have any questions about anything I’ve shared above, or would like more detailed information about exercises/meal planning, feel free to DM me on Instagram @shainag_. (All photos taken by me and edited by Zoë Hecht, enjoy!)