How to stay healthy during college
Despite the fact that you are as young as you’ll ever be, your body isn’t invincible. Put it under enough stress and fail to take the proper precautions and beer bellies will sag, fatigue will drain your energy stores, and diseases/illnesses will compromise your health. College can (and should) be a fun time in your life, but don’t neglect the foundation that supports everything that sits upon it.
There are several areas to which you should pay special attention to when looking into how to stay healthy during college; ensure that the following five areas are taken care of, and your life in college will be every bit as vibrant as it should be.
1) Maintain a balanced diet
This point is repeated so often that many glaze over when they hear it. But would it be mentioned so often if it wasn’t a fundamental cornerstone of your overall health? In college, cafeterias serve up many fried foods on their buffet lines, allowing students to go back for as many helpings as they desire.
Limit the amount of fried, carb heavy food you eat, instead opting for meals composed of whole foods (weighted towards greens/lean protein) as much as possible. Don’t go back for seconds, and when you’re back at the dorm, limit ordering out for pizza to your cheat day (once per week), and avoid snacking outside of meals the rest of the time.
2) Get plenty of sleep
In college, quality sleep can be at a premium, but that doesn’t diminish its importance, as it is this rest time that allows your body to properly heal from the physical and mental stresses that it endures during the day. Try to seek out accomodation where getting undisturbed sleep can be had more often than not. If it is a night where extraneous noise is unavoidable, wear earplugs and an eyemask to ease you into your slumber.
Avoid using alcohol to induce sleep, as it messes up your sleep patterns to the point where you often wake up feeling just as tired as you were when you fell asleep. Another trick to get the rest you need is to wash your face before retiring, as a going over with face moisturizer may make you feel more at ease physically, thus easing your transition to dreamland.
3) Drink moderate amounts of alcohol
Remember back in #1 where we contraindicated consumption of simple carbs? Well, beer and many forms of alcohol are basically bottled bread, making them the fastest pathway to the dreaded Freshman 15 weight gain. This doesn’t mean you have to abstain from booze while your friends live it up, but it does mean you have to be conscious of the effects of what you’re consuming. As a consequence, limit your consumption to once per week, and don’t drink to get blackout drunk (just a few will do). Nights out are more fun when you remember them, anyway!
4) Engage in physical activity on a regular basis
While following a protein-dense diet will help keep the weight off, it won’t build a strong body capable of getting through the stressors of daily life in college with ease. In order to get a bod that will back you up no matter what any given day will throw at you, you’ll need to engage in regular physical activity.
Simple ways to do this include walking, hitting the gym, and registering for intramural sports. Not only will this reinforce your health, you’ll improve your looks and make new friends in the process … winning!
5) Practice safe sex … every time
Don’t delude yourself that you can ride raw “just this one time” and you’ll be fine. It’s during unprotected encounters like this where debilitating diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea and even HIV can be passed between partners. Always wrap it up when you get lucky, and if you forgot to bring one like an idiot, then no intercourse for you … period.