Today in The Freshman’s Guide to College we’re talking about staying healthy in college!
We’ve come pretty far in this Freshman’s Guide to College already! We’ve talked about so many topics already–what supplies you need, what to bring, how to study, and how to be social. Today we’re talking about health! Health is the one thing that I did terribly the first year I went to school. And I mean terribly. I’ve never been super health-conscious until this last year, but there are so many things that make staying healthy in college so much harder than when you’re still at home in high school, living with your parents I find!
Nevertheless, I think that staying healthy in college is incredibly important. Being in good health improves cognitive functioning, as well as keeping you motivated and energized to both work and have fun.
For those reasons, I made sure that this last year I didn’t let my health slip away from me like I did the year before. The freshman 15 is so real, people, but these are some tips that I have learned to make staying healthy in college that much easier!
1. Figure out what’s included in your tuition
I’m just going to be real here: you have a free gym with your student membership. You’re wasting a great opportunity if you don’t use it.
After school, a cheap gym membership is $50 a month! That’s $600 a year! This is your only chance to have a free pass, so why not use it? We all know that health is important, so get into the habit while it’s free instead of spending a ton of money on a membership later and only going 3 times.
Also, don’t stop at the gym membership! At my school, there’s free yoga and Zumba classes, too, which are so much fun! Even if you’re not into those things normally, or you’ve been too scared to try them before, this is the time to try! If you try now, it’s free, so the only thing you lose is a bit of time, that’s all! Plus, since you’re not paying, it’s easier to leave in the beginning of the class if it’s really horrible.
2. Schedule it in
If you’re really going to make health a priority, make sure you put aside the proper amount of time for it. How much and when is up to you, but I would start by figuring out what kind of gym environment you want. Here are some questions that I used to figure out when I should schedule in my workouts:
Would I prefer if it’s only women?
If so, look for women-only hours and schedule your workout times around those! When I first started working out I wanted to lift, so I was a little intimidated by the guys, to be honest. Are you the same way I was? Or do you not really care?
Do I mind if it’s busy?
On the same note, since I lift, I like it when it’s less busy since then you don’t have to wait for a bench or for the weights I need.
Do I work better if I work out in the morning, or after school is done?
This is where you’ll probably have to make a bit of a tradeoff. If you prefer to work after school, it’ll likely be busy. That being said, if you really like sleeping in, it may be worth it to go at a busier time.
Am I more likely to get my workout in without skipping it if I workout early or later?
Do you let things pile up until you have no more time left at 4:00 in the afternoon? Or do you like to pound out all of your frustrations out on the treadmill at the end of the day? I personally need to workout in the morning or it just doesn’t get done. My husband, though, likes to workout before coming home. Figure out what works for you!
When you consider all of these points, it gets very easy to sort out your schedule. For me, for instance, I wanted to work out during women’s hour and in the morning since it’s less busy, so I just workout at 7:30 every day. Easy peasy!
3. Remember that staying healthy in college doesn’t have to be boring!
Sometimes the gym life is just stale. Sometimes it gets boring,and sometimes it smells of guys’ old gym socks.
Solution: think outside the box and find some fun ways to stay healthy!
If you’re not into the gym, find other ways to get active! Step outside to go for a run, or bike to school! My husband and I love céilí dancing and rock climbing, and try to go to each once a month! Join a fun dance class, like swing dance, and look for fun adventure-type things to do in your city! (rock climbing is a great workout, btw. I would highly recommend it.)
Just be creative! Find what makes you happy and do it.
4. Eat to fuel yourself
Of course, no matter how much you work out, if you’re eating pizza twice a day you’re never going to be really healthy. Try to remember that food is meant to give your body the nutrients it needs, but is also supposed to taste good! Instead of eating frosted flakes for breakfast or the pancakes and sausages at the cafeteria, maybe grab a kiwi and some scrambled eggs!
5. Focus on listening to your body rather than defeating it
This is a big one for me. As every girl has, I’ve struggled with figuring out a good balance between eating healthy and not doing any crazy dieting scheme for quite some time. I’ve realized that health is about understanding what your body is trying to tell you and listening to it instead of denying it so that you can get that flat stomach you want.
In March this year, I started feeling really sluggish every day and had huge headaches. I also realized that I had been eating cereal every day for breakfast and sometimes for dinner, too (shameful, I know), and started making myself smoothies every morning instead. Within a week my headaches had stopped even though my workload had gotten heavier and I was more stressed! I swear, listening to your body and learning its cues is the easiest way to make sure that you are treating it well.
What do you do to stay healthy? Comment with 3 things you’re going to do this semester to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself at college!
Enjoy this post? Check out the rest of The Freshman’s Guide to College:
- Freshman’s Guide to College Day 1: Back-to-School Shopping
- Freshman’s Guide to College Day 2: Choosing your Course Schedule
- Freshman’s Guide to College Day 3: Saving on Textbooks
- Freshman’s Guide to College Day 4: Making Friends
- Freshman’s Guide to College Day 5: Roommates
- Freshman’s Guide to College Day 6: Exams
- Freshman’s Guide to College Day 7: Packing for College
- Freshman’s Guide to College Day 8: Staying Healthy in School
- Freshman’s Guide to College Day 9: Time Management
- Freshman’s Guide to College Day 10: Staying in Touch with Family and Friends