A healthy lifestyle at university can be very very important, especially as you’ll most likely be moving to a place full of greasy food, fast-food, pizza places and kebab shops. Temptation can be difficult to avoid, but we’ve got three of the best tips to help you to stay healthy while at university.
Get a good night’s sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is very important for you and your wellbeing. A good night’s sleep will help to maintain your metabolism, to improve your memory and it will also mean that you’re well rested for the day that you have ahead of you. However, if you have a poor night’s sleep, then you will notice a reduction in your energy levels and most probably in your ability to concentrate as well. A bad night’s sleep is also linked to much higher levels of irritability, higher levels of anxiety and has even seen links to depression. Sleep deprivation has also been known to cause an increase in your appetite, which can result in weight gain, sometimes even very large weight gain. The best thing that you can do is establish a regular sleeping pattern of around eight hours or so each and every night and try to go to bed and then get up at around the same time.
Exercise, exercise, exercise and if you have time, exercise some more
Exercise can be a difficult and expensive commodity to come by when at university. But it is absolutely imperative to living a healthy university lifestyle. You’ll be spending most of the day doing fairly menial tasks like going to lectures or things that don’t really involve a large amount of movement or exercise. In a normal university day, nine times out of ten what do you do in your university’s lecture hall? You’ll be sitting. What will you doing when you’re in the library? You’ll most likely be once more, sitting. What do you do in the cafeteria? You sit…well you also eat and that can help if you’re eating healthy, but you’ll mostly be sitting down. While university does seem to require a fair amount of sitting, it is important to keep yourself active in order to stay healthy. One of the best things to that you can do is to establish a routine of regular exercise; treat your gym time like an extra class in your schedule or as an extension of said schedule (If you’re doing a sports degree, this can be a little more relaxed), or you can split your workouts into shorter and less frequent time slots that will fit nicely into your busy schedule.
Everything in moderation
Bread, pasta, and cereals will all start to become your favourite foods very quickly if you want to stay and remain healthy, but you will need to eat these in moderation. Don’t go avoiding them completely; avoiding these foods completely can have just as negative an impact on your metabolism as if you were to go overboard with them, which is essential to fighting those first year blues. Just keep in mind that the desserts you can potentially have should be a treat and nothing more or less, don’t make them a habit, you can have junk food when you need it, but you shouldn’t have too much of it! Just make sure that you’re filling up on nutrient-rich foods with plenty of fibre, whether that be whole grain foods, some lentils, some spinach, broccoli or even some beans. Other things that people often do is add things like some avocado, some lettuce, or some tomato to their sandwiches. In the cafeteria, try to avoid fried or breaded items as best you can (Although one or two every now and again won’t be the end of the world and may help you on a “cheat day”). You can maybe try and add chicken to any of your salads for a protein boost too! For some motivation and some inspiration, you can look to various food blogs or some Pinterest recipes to get you excited about healthy eating again! There are plenty of articles out there about healthy eating at university.
Keep an eye on your drinks too
There are five different types of beverages that students can have at university; all of which will have either a positive or a negative impact on your health and also on your lifestyle, and those beverages are: alcohol, caffeinated drinks, water, fizzy drinks and soft drinks. All alcoholic drinks contain what are more commonly referred to as ‘empty calories’, this means that they have little to no nutritional value whatsoever. An excessive consumption of alcohol can have very serious physical repercussions on students; a single shot of vodka can contain nearly 100 calories and studies have shown that a regular consumption of alcohol can have a very negative impact on your ability to absorb nutrients and also on your ability to burn fat over any selected period of time. Both soft drinks and also sweetened fruit juices can also cause an unhealthy weight gain in people and it has been shown to slow your digestion as well. Most of these drinks contain very high levels of sugar, and their dietary equivalents do nothing more than simply substitute the very high sugar content with chemicals that are just as toxic, if not more so for you and your system. The best thing for people to do is to try and substitute their sugary fix with a rather nice refreshing cup of tea (Chamomile tea and also mint tea have been shown to promote relaxation and even digestion after consumption, don’t worry, you can also have some sweeter flavours too like strawberry, lemon peach or ginseng can also give your taste buds some much needed relief). People need to be sure to keep an eye on their caffeine consumption, too – specifically keeping it down. Most caffeinated drinks are often very dehydrating so the best thing to remember is to drink at least two glasses of water for every cup of coffee or for every energy drink that you consume.