How to Stay Healthy in University
University is a great experience, but it can really take a toll on your health. You hear horror stories about the terrible cafeteria food, the late-night cramming (and snacking) sessions, and above all, the dreaded “Freshman 15”. Unfortunately, many students find themselves in a bit of a health predicament when they begin post-secondary, particularly if they’re living on campus. Not only is it difficult to make time for healthy habits, but if you aren’t motivating yourself to stay healthy, you’re going to wind up eating ramen noodles for the rest of your life.
It’s crucial to keep your health in check, especially in such a stressful and demanding environment. Even by implementing just a few basic steps into your (admittedly, already-busy) schedule, you could vastly improve the way you feel every day. That positive attitude is something that will further translate into your academic and personal life.
Here are some tips for staying healthy in university:
Drink lots of water. Long days at the library can leave you parched. Keep a bottle in your bag and refill it as often as you can. (This is also a good way to save money by not buying juice or bottled water, and calories by forgoing the fizzy soda.)
Take advantage of the facilities. Many post-secondary institutions include gym memberships in their student fees. Even if you’re not very athletic to begin with, look into the programs offered at the athletics facilities and see if you might be interested in a drop-in session or two.
Alternatively, take a walk. University campuses can be beautiful! For a quick bit of exercise on a busy day, explore on foot. (At larger campuses like the University of Toronto, St. George or York University, crossing the whole campus can actually be quite a workout!)
Pack healthy snacks. If you’re hungry after class, don’t rush to the nearest food truck—a smarter option is to reach for the granola bar in your backpack. Stocking up on healthy snacks like dried fruit, nuts or (non-sugary) energy bars will keep you going between mealtimes.
Dine smart. If your meals are typically served buffet-style, make smart choices about what you want to put on your plate. Take advantage of fresh fruit and salad bars, if they’re available. After a whole week of pizza and poutine—believe it or not—you may find yourself actually craving vegetables.
Get a second opinion. Universities must have some form of health assistance on campus; this can be anything from clinic services to counseling. Check out what your school has to offer and speak to a professional if you’re concerned about your health, or if you just want to take steps towards making it better.
Staying healthy doesn’t have to be hard. Integrate small healthy habits into your daily university routine, and you’ll be on the path to a healthier lifestyle in no time.