As a junior in college, it keeps getting harder to stay in shape like I used to in high school, and I think most college students (other than athletes) can agree. So what do you do?
Watch what you eat.
Whether you commute or live on campus, it can be hard to maintain a healthy and balanced diet; however, it’s not impossible. This doesn’t mean that every meal has to be slowly prepared and cooked with food purchased from Whole Foods. What I mean by this is, don’t eat a ton of Hersey bars and Hot Cheetos as a snack. It’s okay to have them every once in a while, but try to have an apple and some nuts instead. Make that the usual snack and junk the rare occasion munchy.
For breakfast try to make yourself a meal. If you don’t have a lot of time, having a hard boiled egg, some whole grain bread and cheese with drink of orange juice will be an upgrade over an energy bar and a Red Bull. For lunch, try to have a legitimate meal. Even if you eat out, try ordering chicken breast with a side of salad, and finally, don’t pig out for dinner. If possible, try having something as light as a fruit salad. If you’re having a hard time staying awake while studying, eat some carrots. Most importantly, try to eat in reasonable portions. As already mentioned, I understand this type of diet is hard to maintain, but try to follow through with it, or at least some variation as much as possible. Definitely avoid fast food places like McDonald’s and such.
Drink more water.
You’ve heard it a thousand times. “Drink more water. Water makes up 50-65% of your body.” It’s true, but you shouldn’t just drink water because it makes up a significant percentage of your body mass. Water is like a filter for your body. The more water you drink, the more it cleans out your system. Furthermore, substituting water for soda, is an extremely healthy choice. Avoiding soda in general should be a priority. Your body does not need soda, and it has absolutely no health benefits. Moreover, soda is a major contributor to weight gain. Once again, I understand college students need that kick to keep them awake, so they have soda, coffee or a Monster, but don’t make that a regular thing.
Get some exercise! I am a college student (an engineering major), and I know how hard it is to find time to exercise, but even half an hour can be extremely beneficial. Most campuses are really pretty. Try going through a 30 minute run every day. Jump rope outside. Some schools (like Benedictine) offer bike rentals. Get some fresh air. If it’s cold outside utilize your school’s gym. Run on the treadmill or use some other cardio machines such as bikes, ellipticals, stair step, etc. Do some free weight exercises, or take advantage of some of the fitness classes your school may offer. If your school doesn’t have a gym or offer these programs, do some exercises in your room. Everyone can benefit from the good ol’ push-up and sit-up.
Get some rest.
Try and get some sleep. Sleep will help your body recover from the day. In effect, you will be able to maintain good health. I know, firsthand, that sleep in college does not come easy, and getting those recommended eight hours can sometimes be impossible, but take advantage of sleep when you can. If you are finishing up a paper, then finish it, but don’t stay up on Netflix watching just one more episode of Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones.
So if you wanna stay in shape in college, try to eat healthy, drink water, exercise and get some rest. If you can’t do all of these things, try to do at least two. You will feel better and have a greater capacity for learning. Creating these habits early on will stick with you throughout life and hopefully keep you in shape for a very long time.