We all have busy schedules and a lot of important things we need to remember to do, which includes staying healthy. Since March is National Nutrition Month, it is an especially good time to keep a healthy lifestyle in college. It may not always be a top priority, but it is easier than you think.
Eating healthy might seem like the most obvious as well as the easiest thing you can do to stay healthy in college. In reality eating healthy can be one of the hardest things to do in college because of its limited food options. Our bodies need a variety of of foods to remain in peak condition. Instead of finding ourselves always at the dessert bar, we should focus more on eating fruits, vegetables, protein and whole grains. In the Caf, there is a salad bar and several fruit stands, which can provide you with some much-needed fiber and vitamins. We do not need to cut out carbohydrates, but we should find more healthy forms. Instead of eating plain, bleached white bread, you should try to eat whole grain bread, whole grain pasta and other whole grain options. It is pretty obvious that we need protein, which is found in meat and dairy, as well as other vegetarian options like tofu and beans. Protein is important because it helps keep our hair and nails healthy in addition to our muscles and bones. It is also important to keep healthy snacks on hand in your dorm so that you can munch on nuts, fruit or cheese instead of junk food, like chips and candy. The same goes for drinks – replace some of your soft drinks with water or juice.
Utilize the Gym
We all have (free) access to the gym in the University Center, where there is a large variety of workout machines for both strength and cardio training. You can start a workout off with cardio such as the treadmill, elliptical or a spinning machine. After you and your muscles are warmed up, you can head over to the weights for a strength workout. Remember to stretch after a workout to help your muscles and to prevent feeling sore the next morning. Be sure to find a workout partner so you can help motivate each other. You could just focus on using the machines, but you might benefit from finding an activity you like such as yoga, running, basketball or volleyball. The UC offers a great number of classes day and night, from bowling to zumba. Find whatever is most helpful and fun for you.
The amount of sleep we get can affect our judgment, health, mood and even memory. Many of us prioritize hanging out with friends, studying, watching TV and other activities over getting a decent amount of sleep. It is important to develop a bedtime routine that gets you into a regular sleep schedule. This can mean going to bed at the same time every night or always doing something before going to sleep, such as taking a shower or reading. We often value sleep at any time of the day and will often take naps. Naps can help us feel more awake for the rest of the day, but they can also prevent us from feeling tired and wanting to sleep at night, when it really counts. Also, another key factor to getting enough sleep is cutting down on procrastination. The quicker you get your work done, the earlier you are able to relax and sleep.
This is college, and of course we want to party. However, staying up late and drinking can affect our health a great deal. Late night partying deprives us from sleep, and alcohol, especially in large amounts, can cause substantial weight gain. When you drink, your body breaks alcohol down into acetate, which is burned before any other consumed or stored calories, such as fat and sugar. When you drink or eat more calories than you need, you will store the fat from other foods from earlier in the day. If you do want to party when you have (highly scarce) free time, make sure you have a plan. Go to parties with a group of friends. Plan how to get to and from campus and limit how much you will drink. If you ever feel unsafe at a party, do not hesitate to call your friends to pick you up or Mercer Police, especially if you feel you are in serious danger. Mercer Police’s emergency line is (478) 301-2911 and non-emergency line is (478) 301-4357. Adding these numbers to your cell phone could be helpful to your safety in many situations, from asking to be picked up to needing to jump off your car.