Let’s be honest: not too many college students are concerned about health and fitness. And who can blame them? Between attending class, studying, socializing, and possibly even working a part-time job, it’s amazing that students find time to sleep (okay, most don’t). So the fact that they scarf junk food from the vending machines and survive on caffeine and sugar is not terribly surprising. But it certainly isn’t advisable. If you find yourself living in the dorms and you just don’t have the time or energy to devote to health and fitness, you’ll be glad to hear that there are a few simple changes you can implement that will make a big difference. Here are some tips to help you get started.
- Eat regular meals. One major problem that many college students face is eating on a regular schedule. Rolling out of bed five minutes before class doesn’t leave you much time for breakfast, and with back-to-back classes you could end up skipping lunch, as well. In the meantime you’re probably munching on food from the vending machine, which is packed with sugar and fat and leaves you hungry again in an hour. This is all terrible news for your metabolism, not to mention your overall health. By taking the time to eat regularly and assemble balanced meals you have a much better chance of avoiding the freshman fifteen (which could grow to the senior sixty if you don’t make some changes).
- Start a food journal. Even if you’re lazy, it’s not too difficult to write down what you eat throughout the day, especially with all kinds of mobile apps at your disposal for exactly that purpose. Fooducate is one great tracker that can even tell you how to make healthier choices when you shop. But the first step is to become aware of what you’re eating (and how much). So try tracking and you’ll soon start to see the error of your ways.
- Join an online community. It can be hard to motivate yourself to get healthy, especially when you’ve got all the stresses of school to contend with. But joining a free online community like Spark People can offer you the tools and support you need to get on track with setting goals for diet, exercise, and overall healthy living.
- Get a pedometer. You might not think that you’re very active, but when you wear a pedometer or other type of activity tracker (or use an app for your smartphone) you’ll see that you’re moving more than you think in an average day. This can help to encourage you to add some activity, even if it’s only a walk around campus with a friend, so that you can see an increase in the number of steps you walk and your calories burned.
- Get your zees. Napping may seem like the height of laziness, but getting adequate sleep is essential for good health. When you fail to get the rest you need it can mess with your whole system, making it difficult to focus and retain information, causing irritability, and leading to fluctuations in ghrelin and leptin, the hormones that control your hunger and satiety. So whether you’re plugging away on campus or you plan to get your LLM degree online from Vermont Law, it’s important to make sure that you schedule in a full eight hours a night or supplement by nabbing a nap.