Staying Healthy in College

Maintaining good health is important in college.  With all the partying, lack of sleep, junk food, and a campus infested with germs, students should pay more attention to their health.   I think the best thing to do is to just start off with small steps, then work your way up to bigger health-cautious steps.  Everyone is different; therefore there is no right health plan out there for everyone. 

The best thing to do is to create your own personal goals and categorize them in three different levels of difficulty.  Have the easiest goals at the base of your pyramid, then the medium goals, and finally the toughest goals should be at the top.  Remember, you can’t get to the top unless you start from the bottom.

Some examples of small health goals may be to wash your hands more often.  I work at Dunham’s Sporting Good’s, and a customer, who works at Ruby told me today that MRSA is going around Morgantown.  He also told me that there were two cases of Spinal Meningitis over the past 60 hours.  Be aware of your surroundings.  College campuses are filled with germs and are a common place to catch anything that has been going around.

Another small health goal may be to substitute drinking water for soda or energy drinks.  Water transports nutrients to and from your cells and helps keep your immune system in good condition.

Make sure your sleeping! It won’t take much effort to try to get to bed a little bit earlier.  Maintaining a regular sleep schedule with 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night is important for good health.

Lastly, take advantage of the group exercise classes at the rec center.  A variety of classes include aerobics, zumba, pilates, yoga, boot camp, aqua aerobics, spinning, and more.  There is something there for everyone, and having an instructor and being surrounded by your peers will help to motivate yourself.  You could even try a program through the outdoor rec center, which is great.  I’ve been on the white water rafting trip and it was a blast, and fairly cheap too.  They also offer skiing, rock climbing, backpacking, camping, and more.  Again, there is something for everyone!

Some suggestions for medium-difficulty level goals are maybe walking to class.  Avoid using your vehicle as much as possible.  With all these hills around here you’re bound to boost your cardio just by walking to class.  Also, take the stairs.  The weather is getting nicer so you have no reason to take the elevators anymore!

Another medium goal could be to set a number of days a week to hit up the gym.  Pencil it in to your planners so you remember to go.  Take a friend, you’ll be less likely to come up with an excuse not to go to the gym because you won’t want to bail on your friend. 

Finally, pay attention to what you’re eating in the dining halls.  The desert bar is tempting after every meal, especially with no parents there to stop you, but you must resist.  Limit your trips to the desert bar to just once a day. 

Next are the toughest goals.  These could be a number of things that are going to be considerably hard for you.  One goal I may suggest is to let yourself relax.  I know, that doesn’t sound so hard, but think of how busy your week can get.  Going to classes, possibly holding down a job, going to the gym, studying, and working on projects, when does it ever end?  You have to give yourself time to relax no matter how busy your life can be.  It’s not fair to your body if your are stressed all the time.  Hang out with your friends, go downtown to one of the local venues (Black Bear, Blue Moose, and So.Zo) and watch some local artists perform, indulge in your hobbies, or just simply read a good book for twenty minutes before you go to sleep each night. 

Another tough goal that should be at the top of your pyramid is to cut out drinking, or at least binge drinking.  The calorie content in alcohol leads to weight gain.  Try just either limiting the amount of nights you go out each week, or the number of drinks you consume each night you go out.  Possibly switch to lite and low carb beers.

Pay attention to what you eat.  Pack your own lunch to work or campus.  Pack fruits and a whole wheat sandwich.  Also, watch out for that late night snacking.  You really should eat at least 2-3 hours before you go to sleep.

These are all just suggestions for your own personal goals you could try to set for yourself.  Remember you have to do what is right for you.  Starting out small is the key.  You should never just dive into it.  For instance, you wouldn’t go to med school without attending a four-year college first right?  This is not the best example but it gets my point across.  You have to start off small first, get your feet wet a little.


About tonicekada

I am a junior print journalism major at West Virginia University. I have two minors in Italian and fitness.
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