Being healthy is often described as having a good physical, mental, and social well being. During the first few weeks at university, your ability to keep healthy can go out of the window as you rebel against all the rules that were set at home. Eventually though, the novelty will wear off, and you may start to feel a little bit worse for wear! Here are 10 clever tips for how to keep healthy and fit at university without compromising your new lifestyle!
1. Make walking your main form of transportation.
One of the best ways to keep healthy at university is practically automatic, and this is because of the amount of walking you’ll have to do. Whether you’re at a campus university or in a city, the likelihood of your residence halls, lectures, and shops being directly next to each other is minimal.
Some days the temptation of not leaving your flat can be very strong, but find excuses to get out and about! Walk to the library, go into town or go to a friend’s flat or house.
Pro Tip #1: Another solution is to bring your bike to university which will help you get around with ease as well as the added health benefits!
Pro Tip #2: I found my first year room very claustrophobic and it certainly had an impact on my mood. Getting outside and doing things helped with my physical and mental health. Some of my friends had the same idea and bought themselves FITBIT’s to count their daily steps. This forced them to walk around to hit their daily targets, which ended up improving their over-all fitness!
2. Join a gym and sign up for exercise classes with friends.
One of the best ways to keep healthy and fit in university is to join the university gym. Every campus is likely to have one, offering different deals on memberships for students. If you’re at a city university you’re likely to encounter a few more, so get information and weigh up the best deals for you.
Joining a gym can give you access to more facilities than merely treadmills. If you prefer machine cardio exercise you will obviously be able to work out on the basic cross trainers, bikes, rowing machines and terrifying- looking weight machines.
Pro Tip #3: However, your uni gym will also probably run a number of fitness classes throughout the week. These target a variety of interests from spin classes, Zumba, and combat to Pilates and yoga. Membership may also give you access to the local or university swimming pool. These give you a variety of different fun ways to exercise so it doesn’t feel like a chore, and you’re likely to make friends doing them!
Pro Tip #4: Another clever tip would be to get yourself a gym buddy – someone who can drag you to the gym when you really don’t feel like it. This will not only give you motivation, but will also help you build relationships at the same time as working out! Physical, mental and social health boost!
3. Don’t be afraid to try something new and remember, practice makes perfect.
Throughout your entire school career, you will see university propaganda telling you school is the best place to try something new and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
The same is true of your fitness. The best attitude to have is, “Why the hell not?” Don’t be scared to try different things.
Last year I decided to start running, and after the initial embarrassment and pain of not being able to run very far, I now run comfortably a few times a week. My friends supported me through this and it gave me a fantastic buzz every time I went that bit further. I never thought I could do this, but as I said, “Why the hell not?”
4. Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
Keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day can be the last thing you think about while you’re rushing around working and exploring. To keep yourself fit and healthy, experts recommend we should drink two litres of water, or 8 oz, a day.
5. Create a work timetable for yourself immediately.
With all the excitement going on, it’s easy to forget the real reason you signed up for these three to four years. In the first few weeks when the workload is scarce it can be easy to be lured into a false sense of security.
When the workload ramps up, it’s a good idea to make a work timetable. The stress you could cause yourself by leaving your work to the last moment or being un-organised will be really unhealthy to your mind and body.
Pro Tip #5: Social media can be a massive distraction so I would recommend downloading apps and programmes, such as this site, that temporarily block selected sites for a certain period of time, meaning there are no distractions or reasons not to finish your work!
6. Bulk prepare your food in advance.
Being organised with your food can help you stay healthy as well as save money. Luckily for us, there are a number of student cookbooks that can help out with this! The best one I can recommend would be from the BBC Good Food series, 101 Easy Student Dinners.
Pro Tip #6: For example, you can prepare a pot of spaghetti bolognese one night, eat one serving and freeze the rest in Tupperware containers. Now you have leftovers for the next few days! This helps you save money, stay healthy and reuse any remaining food you may have. Preparing your food in advance can also save you time and stop you from buying unhealthy snacks to refuel.
7. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep per night.
You can find yourself getting into quite an irregular sleeping pattern at university. From all-nighters in the library, rolling into bed at 3 a.m. from the club only to drag yourself back out for a 9 a.m., or staying up for “just one more episode,” you can start to deteriorate into a zombie after a while.
Although someone telling you to get more sleep can sound a little bit like your mum nagging at you – and after all, isn’t that one of the perks of being away at uni?! – it is important for your physical and mental health that you do at least get a decent amount of sleep on a regular basis. Otherwise you’ll find that you’re unable to be your most productive self, and things you enjoy doing will suffer. Aim for at least eight hours a night so you feel mentally refreshed, healthier and happier.
8. Join a society to engage in activities you enjoy.
As well as your physical and mental well-being, a good social well-being is important too. Joining a society for one of your interests is a place where you will immediately have something in common with others. This will help you settle in with ease. A society can also give you the feeling of family within university that can help you if you experience loneliness.
9. Manage stress by setting a goal immediately and slowly working through it.
University can be a stressful time. And if I’m being honest, that’s a bit of an understatement. Stress can impact your mental health more than anything else, and if not managed correctly, can lead to serious burn out and sickness. But I’ve learned the best way to manage stress is to tackle it head on – set a goal immediately and begin to slowly work through it.
10. Figure out your priorities and how to balance all aspects of your life.
My final tip would be to have some sort of balance in your life. This can be between work, socialising, friends and family from home, and going out or staying in for some time alone. Basically, do whatever makes you happy. You don’t have to conform to any sort of social pressure or what you think you should be like at university.
Drink too much, have a hangover, and then balance it with a sober film and pizza night. Stay in touch with your family and hometown friends to stay grounded and to maintain friendships, but don’t neglect the relationships you’ll make at university. There’s a line between holding on to new friends and holding back from new ones. Find the balance that makes you happiest! This will make you healthier in turn!
*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.