Snack machines in dorms; frozen foods; lack of sleep; little exercise; stress; beer and pizza as meal/party staples – these are common lifestyles of college students today. It’s no wonder that college freshmen put on an average of 15 pounds in their first year. All of these behaviors add to weight gain but to a general unhealthy status too.
So, how do college students avoid getting out of shape as they face the temptations and challenges of the common lifestyle of university students? Here are six tips that should be taken seriously.
- Be Smart About Snacking
It’s so easy to run out to that snack machine and load up on chips, cookies, and candy bars. Take a weekly trip to the local grocer store and buy just a few items – dry roasted peanuts, peanut butter (great with celery), raisins, a few servings of your favorite fruit, and some granola bars. Keep your room stocked with these – none of them needs to be refrigerated.
- Find Innovative Ways to Exercise
There are some “sneaky” ways you can get exercise in. Practice stomach crunches while you are sitting at your computer, checking Lets Grade It for websites that will check for plagiarism on your latest essay or paper. Place your textbook on the provided stand in front of an exercise bike at your campus fitness center. In fact, some studies who that if you read while you exercise, you actually retain the information better.
- Walk or Bike Rather Than Ride
You may have a car on campus. It’s so easy to hop in and drive yourself to a classroom building that is a bit far away. Stop it. Get a bike or walk to that building. Over time, this adds up to a consistent pattern of fitness.
- Find Ways to Eliminate Stress
Research has shown that consistent stress has physical consequences – high blood pressure, obesity, and more. If the challenges of coursework present consistent stress, it’s time to get some help. Consider the stressed graduate student working on that dissertation. It would be totally appropriate to seek dissertation assistance, as most Ph.D. candidates do – for literature reviews, for research design, for statistical analysis, etc. Even undergrads can experience the stress of coursework. If it becomes overwhelming, help should be sought.
- Take Breaks as Needed
There is only so much you can tolerate cooped up in a dorm room with roommates, sometimes some mess, and, of course, the assignments that are forcing you to stay put and work. Staying in shape refers to your mental fitness too. When it becomes overwhelming, just take a break and get out. Go for a walk; find a coffee shop for a change in environment; go to the student center and converse with other students over a smoothie. These kinds of breaks can renew your mental evenness.
- Find a Fitness App
There are lots of physical activity exercises that don’t require your presence in a gym or fitness center. They can be done right in your dorm at any time – just open the app and get going! Some of these fitness rounds are as short as 10-15 minutes. Surely, you can find this amount of time on a daily basis.
It’s Up to You
The habits that you pick up in college can carryover to life afterward. If you stay mindful of how you can protect your physical (and mental) fitness and set up healthy habits now, you will thank yourself later.
Author Bio: Melony Hart is a frequent writer and contributor about all things college-related. She draws upon her own personal experiences, as well as those of friends and colleagues. In her spare time, Melony can be found volunteering for animal rescue organizations and supporting environmental causes.