How to Stay Healthy & Fit In College

How to Stay Healthy & Fit in College 

The freshman fifteen is a phrase that haunts many incoming college students. Dining hall food, not participating in high school sports, snacking while studying, not working out as often. These are all common reasons for students to become worrisome about gaining a little extra weight their first year of college. College is new and exciting, but it is also very different, and less structured than a typical high school schedule. Not to worry, staying healthy and fit in college is not as difficult as it seems. Maintaining a healthy mind and physique are important to both physical and mental health, and will lead to additional benefits such as not getting sick, having more energy, and being more confident. Here are some tips and tricks to ensure an active and happy freshman year. 

Take the Stairs 

Although it seems like a no-brainer and may be difficult if you live on a relatively high floor, taking the stairs up, down, or both ways allows you to get a head start and re-energize before heading off to class. Instead of waiting around for the elevator, taking the stairs will jumpstart your alertness and maybe even help you make it to class earlier. 

Drink Water 

Dining halls and vending machines can be found pretty much everywhere on campus, and most of the time they are filled with sugary, carbonated drinks that only have the benefit of tasting good. Avoid these sugary drinks, and drink water, but drink water often throughout the day to regulate body temperature, stabilize metabolism, and remain hydrated. 

Workout 

Well, duh. Before you head off to college, plan a workout schedule that is reasonable enough to follow between classes and activities. By setting specific times to go to the gym, it is easier to motivate yourself to actually go to the gym. Invite some friends and find fun workouts. Many schools even provide students with free workout classes, if you are more of a large group fitness kind of person. Find something that you enjoy doing and continue to stick to a schedule throughout the year. Alternate between cardio and strength exercises to ensure a calorie burning and muscle building workout. 

Get Enough Sleep 

Regardless of how much studying you have to do, how many clubs you are involved in, and being able to spend time with friends, it is essential to your health to get enough sleep. Start by making a daily schedule the night before to plan out your day and make time for the things you have to get done and want to do. By following this schedule and managing your time, you should have no trouble setting aside a designated amount of time for sleep each night. Getting enough sleep will make you feel more awake, which will help you focus in class, and it will also prevent you from getting sick like many freshman do in the first couple of weeks. 

Avoid Bad Eating Habits 

More often than not, dining halls lack healthy, fresh, and delicious food options. With many dining halls offering a buffet style meal system, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of food choices offered. Be cautious about how much you are eating, and what you are eating. Make sure to eat enough fruits and vegetables, and try not to get too caught up by the never ending supply of desert options. Sometimes when studying it can be very easy to snack while reading your textbook, working on homework problems, or going over lecture notes, but make sure to keep snacking to a minimum. Alternating between meals and snacks every 2-3 hours a day is a good way to satisfy lingering hunger, while also avoiding overeating. Also, try not to go out to eat too often. Going to a restaurant with friends is a fun way to socialize, but frequent trips to different food sites that serve heaping portions may lead to an unnecessary amount of calories consumed. And doing so too often can possibly be a recipe for weight gain. 

Without Mom or Dad’s home cooked food, or a consistent athletic commitment, some individuals may find it tough to balance schoolwork, fitness, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and maintaining a social life. Whether it be a group of friends to motivate you to workout, an exercise schedule in between classes, healthy food options that you enjoy in the dining halls, or setting aside time for a good night’s sleep, find something that works for you. College is a time to explore new opportunities, meet new friends, and gain so much knowledge, but in order to ensure a healthy lifestyle that makes you look and feel amazing, continue working out and eating healthy, regardless of the new life you’re living.