A Student’s Guide to Staying Fit

Being a student is one of the busiest times is a persons life. It's often the first time you're out on your own and you begin to make your adult lifestyle habits. Being mindful of this can help you succeed both in school and in life after school.

Stay active

Maybe you're on a sports team here, maybe you’d do well on an intramural team, or maybe you just like to go for walks. Find something you LIKE to do, and make sure you do it. Then invite a friend to join you.

Keep moving

This is not the same as being active. Some of the most sedentary phases of our lives are when we’re in school. We sit in class, we sit at meals, we sit when we study, and we sit when we relax after a long week of all that sitting!

You’re an adult now. Which means your professors will talk to you like you’re one. Ask if you may stand during lectures, or at least be able to move. Sitting like a statue for hours on end isn’t good for your body, and it doesn’t actually help you focus. Take the stairs. Walk to nearby businesses instead of driving. Set a timer to get up and walk around or stretch every 20 minutes of study time.

Watch your caffeine intake

Coffee isn’t bad for you, but it’s really easy to drink too much coffee, and not enough water. Make sure you’re staying hydrated. Not having enough water is like letting your car run low on oil. Eventually, bad things will happen. Proper hydration helps keep your tissues working well, and helps you feel less fatigued.

Sleep

You may have laughed out loud just now, but it’s true. Sleep is vital to staying healthy. It’s where our bodies recover from physical activity, and our minds retain all the information needed for that next exam. Quality matters, here. So try to get your room as dark as possible. Cover the windows, and use black electrical tape to cover any of those distracting blinking lights on all your gadgets. Put a towel under the door if there’s light coming through. And try to limit screen time before bed. ALL SCREENS. And keep the nighttime temps in your room cool.

Watch what you eat

This seems like a no brainer, but it’s easy to justify poor habits when you’re stressed. Or tired. Or happy. Or sad. Or you only have $3 in your bank account.

You’re an adult, which means you have to start caring about your body. Nobody else will do this for you. It matters what, when, and how much you eat. So try this: Don’t drink your calories. Water is really all you need. Energy drinks and soda have no place in a healthy lifestyle. If you like coffee or tea, learn to like it without adding sugar or tons of honey.

Eat vegetables, meat, fruit, and nuts. Try to eat whole foods as close to how they came out of the ground or off the tree.

Ask questions. What oil is that cooked in? Is there sugar added? Most on-campus food services will work with you if you tell them what you need.

Dessert is a sometimes food. Just because it’s an option every day, doesn’t mean you need to eat it every day. Sugar isn’t a good fuel.

Eat

Get up in time to eat something so you're not binging at 2 pm. Eat regular meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels even. This will help keep your energy levels even throughout those long afternoon classes.

A balanced life is a healthy life

Eating well matters. Sleep matters. Exercise matters. Having friends matters. Finding a church or small group where you can grow and ask questions matters. Being a student is a full-time job but don't forget to find some balance. You don't need to sacrifice your overall health for a college degree. Both are possible.

Explore

This is your new home for the next four (or more) years. Walk the campus. Talk to strangers. Ask upperclassman what hidden gems this place might have. Take up weightlifting, or fencing. Find somewhere to volunteer. Try something new. You won’t regret it.

This is only the beginning. The habits and lifestyle you adopt here will set you up for the next decade or more of your life, so start making good decisions now. Your future self will thank you.