Being healthy is not unattainable. Whether you want to lose that freshman 15 or just prevent it, this guide will make you realize how simple it can be. To easily navigate this guide, it is split into 3 sections: Get Moving, Get Eating, and Get Relaxed.
Exercise is one of the key components of being healthy. Getting up and being active is one of the best things you can do for yourself. The basic elements of a well-rounded exercise session include cardio, strength and flexibility. Cardio is anything that gets your heart rate up. Strength is picking up those weights and putting your muscles to use, and flexibility is stretching.
If you aren’t a fan of getting on that treadmill, then you could take a morning jog around campus. Another alternative is jumping rope!
As far as strength goes, this can be a scary thing for some. Just use those machines! They are relatively easy to figure out, even for beginners as most machines provide instructions on how to perform the exercise! If you do not have a gym on campus, then just improvise. Use those overpriced textbooks as weights! Remember strength training is not going to make you look like a man, it will help you look like the babe you are!
Flexibility is overlooked many times, but stretching after a session of running and lifting will make you feel way better. It will prevent sore muscles and I think we can all agree that we don’t want to be seen waddling around campus after leg day because of sore muscles.
If you would rather stay in your dorm and exercise try Nike Training Club app. It includes cardio, strength training and flexibility all in one 45 minute workout. There are also plenty of other options out there, from Youtube channels to fitness bloggers, that give you the resources to workout in the comfort of your dorm room, so do some research!
If you don’t eat right, then your exercise will not yield the results that you expect. In college this can be the most difficult task to tackle.
My health professor once told me that a healthy diet is 80/20. He insists that 80 percent of your diet should be healthy and 20 percent should be the occasional indulgence. It’s all about balance. So instead of loading your plate up with cheesy pasta, garlic bread and soda, all finished off with a heaping bowl of ice cream – choose a small scoop of the pasta, a side salad, water, and a few pieces of fruit accompanied by a dollop of whip cream instead!
One thing that is important to keep in mind when trying to stay healthy in college is portion sizes. If your dining hall as someone handing out portions of food, chances are they are probably much bigger than the suggested serving size. For example, one serving of meat should be about the size of a deck of cards, while a serving size of cheese should be about the size of one dice. Crazy, I know! Just remember you don’t always need to finish the portion that is given you. Eat slowly and stop when you feel satisfied, not full. If you are eating out, try to only eat half of your meal and save the rest for another day.
As far as beverages go, water is always your best bet. If you want to change things up, try sparkling flavored water or add some diced fruit into your water bottle for a touch of sweetness. If you’re a soda drinker, try to cut back. Many carbonated beverages are jam packed with tons of calories and loads of sugar. If you are hitting the bars with your friends, order mixed drinks with diet soda or seltzer water and be sure to avoid those super fruity cocktails.
For long nights, keep your dorm room stocked with granola bars, dried fruit and peanuts. Eating a handful of these protein-packed items is much better than a few slices of pizza. They provide good energy to keep your brain functioning and won’t make you feel sluggish after consumption. If you want a list of foods that are good to eat or a shopping list check out the Bitesizedfitness app!
You may be thinking, what does relaxing have to do with being healthy, and I’m here to tell you it is just as crucial as eating right and being active. Stress can cause your body to produce cortisol, which is not good!!
To combat stress, sleep is a huge solution. Getting plenty of sleep in college is not as hard as you think! Aim to be in bed by 11 pm every night and you will get the perfect amount of sleep! If you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t recover properly from your workout sessions, and the longer you stay awake, the more likely you are to reach for an unhealthy snack option. Getting enough rests allows to be more alert and aware in you classes too!
In addition to sleeping, relaxing includes de-stressing. Every hour that you are working, take 10 minutes to lay back, put on your favorite song, and enjoy. A great place to create that perfect playlist is Spotify!
As busy college students, we often forget to breathe. Take a moment to step back from reality and just take a long, deep breath. It’s amazing how much better one big gulp of air can make you feel.
Now that you have the beginnings of being healthy in college, I hope that you can implement these things into your daily routine. Being healthy is all about attitude and willingness. If you can learn to say “no” to going out every night and getting dessert at lunch and dinner, you can be on your way to losing that freshman 15 (or avoiding it all together) and feeling great!
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