Staying healthy during college isn’t the easiest thing to do. Sleepless nights, parties, exam stress, and fast food are a regular part of many students’ lives.
Does that mean that staying healthy is impossible? Of course, it doesn’t. You just have to work on changing some habits that negatively affect your health.
Here are some tips that can help you balance out your life and turn you more towards a healthier lifestyle.
You must have heard a thousand times that exercising is important. But do you really understand how life-changing it can be?
There is more to exercise than losing weight and looking fit. Regular physical activity can:
- lower your risk of getting diabetes
- improve your mental functioning
- strengthen your bones
- reduce your chance of getting heart decease
- boost positive mood
In order for you to start noticing these changes, you have to be patient. Several studies have shown that it takes around six months to start reaping the cognitive benefits of exercise.
It is completely understandable if you don’t have hours to spend on a physical activity every day. Exercising at a moderate intensity is more than enough. Even taking a 10-minute walk a day will do the trick.
2. Balance Out Your Sleep Schedule
Getting eight hours of sleep every night might seem impossible to you. However, your sleep schedule is extremely important for staying healthy.
The quality of sleep will directly impact your alertness, immunity, cognitive abilities, and physical health.
So, what can you do to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night? Here are some suggestions:
- Get organized (plan out your week in advance and organize your obligations in a way that you have enough time to get some quality sleep)
- Be disciplined (stick to your schedule and respect your plans; setting reminders on your digital devices can help you with that)
- Stay away from all devices one hour before you go to bed (looking at a phone will keep you awake and make it harder for you to fall asleep)
- Exercise (another benefit of exercising is getting your body tired and clearing your mind for a perfect good night sleep)
- Meditate or listen to your favorite relaxing music (“turn off” your mind with some relaxing activities)
Once I noticed that caffeine was keeping my up, I switched to tea in the evening hours, and I was no longer having trouble with falling asleep.”
3. Improve Your Diet
Did you know that the foods you eat affect your productivity? Business Insider reports that “some foods are beneficial for your brain and help facilitate mental processes like negotiation, willpower, and focus.”
All those traits can help you improve your achievements in college.
You don’t have to change your diet completely if you don’t have the time. But a few changes, such as eating “brain food,” can make a big difference.
Here are some brain-healthy foods that can help you improve productivity and cognition:
- Chia seeds
- Green leafy vegetables (such as kale and spinach)
- Red, orange or yellow bell peppers
- Whole-grain foods
4. Avoid Sugar
The “sugar high” that comes with eating sweets or drink something sugary will seem great. However, that “high” will only exhaust your energy and leave you more tired than before.
Maybe sugarless life seems impossible, but your opinion might change when you hear these reasons why you too much sugar is bad for you:
- It drains your energy
- It increases the risk of heart diseases
- It is associated with a higher risk of developing acne
- It creates a higher risk of depression
- It increases the risk of fatty liver
- It negatively impacts dental health
- It accelerates cognitive decline
After all, you don’t have to completely kick out sugar from your diet. You just need to eat it moderately and find healthy substitutes. “I would have to say that my best life decision (health-wise) is decreasing my sugar intake.
I started practicing this at college after I heard this lecture about the negative effects of sugar. What I did is I replaced my typical sugar-filled snacks with fruits and nuts,” says Estelle Leotard, an editor at SupremeDissertations.
Since people are creators of habits, you just need to get used to healthy snacks, and they will be more than enough for you.
5. Keep Your Body Hydrated
Start carrying a water bottle everywhere you go to ensure that you stay hydrated throughout the day.
Drinking fluids and staying hydrated is the key to being healthy and maintaining the function of every system in your body. That includes your brain, heart, and muscles.
Here’s why drinking enough water is important for your health:
- The brain needs water to carry out important functions efficiently, such as attention and memory.
- Hydrated brain encourages the transportation of nutrients to the brain, which improves your concentration and keeps out the toxins.
- Drinking water has a calming effect on your body and can, therefore, calm down your nerves.
- Being well-hydrated keeps the organs functioning properly.
- Taking enough water throughout the day can improve sleep quality.
The recommendable dose is getting 30 to 50 ounces (or about 1 to 1.5 liters) of water every day.
If you aren’t the most dedicated water-drinker, it may seem like too much. However, when you have your water bottle with you, you’ll have a consistent reminder that you should hydrate. You’ll also be able to keep track of how much you have drunk.
Staying healthy is the most important thing in the world. Just ask the people who are struggling with their health, and you’ll see. That’s why you should start embedding healthy life habits while you’re young.
College lifestyle can be a big threat to your health, and these tips can help you stay on the right track and take care of your body and mind.
Diana Nadim Adjadj is a writer and editor who has a Master’s degree in Psychology. She combines her passion for writing with her interest in research and creates thought-provoking content in various fields.