We know that trying to stay healthy as a student is easier said than done. Erratic timetables, deadlines, part-time jobs and an active social life can take up so much of your time that you forget all about keeping your health in check. But staying healthy isn’t actually that time-consuming or difficult if you put your mind to it and make small changes to your routine.
The smallest things can really make a big difference!
Carry your own water bottle
Most of us know that drinking enough water throughout the day is important, but how many of us actually do it? A good way to ensure you’re sticking to the habit is to bring your own water with you. You’ll be more inclined to drink when you have it by your side – plus, you can save money (and help save the planet!) by not spending on bottles of mineral water.
Although the eight glasses of water per day rule is a good guideline to start drinking more water, remember that you might need to drink even more than that if you exercise often, drink a lot of coffee, or if the weather is particularly hot and humid.
Go for a walk
Keeping a regular exercise schedule is a great way to boost your immune system, but it’s not always easy to keep to a routine. When you don’t have time to fit in a proper workout, compensate by going for a 30-minute walk during your lunch break or in between classes.
There are numerous benefits to taking a walk every day, from increased energy to better weight management and healthier joints and bones. Plus, it’s good for your mental health, as walking has been proven to reduce stress levels and promote better sleep. You can even break it up throughout the day by going for 10- or 15-minute brisk walks at a time.
Getting enough sleep is very important for students, as studies show that all-nighters are detrimental to health. If you’ve had a busy week which didn’t allow for enough sleep, be sure to schedule in a nap to make up for it.
Make it a practice to go to bed early and stick to it so you won’t find it difficult to get through the next day if you have to wake early for class. Avoid too much caffeine or sugary drinks, as these make it hard for some people to fall asleep at night.
Get a flu shot
No matter how much you wash your hands or avoid your sick friends, sometimes catching the flu during university is just bound to happen. With the flu vaccine, you’re less likely to be prone to influenza, as it’s been shown to reduce the risk of needing to see a doctor for the flu by 40 to 60 percent.
You can get a flu shot from clinics and prices vary from country to country. There are several universities that offer it free for students during flu season, but be sure to check with the campus health clinic (if there is one). The cost of a flu shot may also be covered under your student health insurance.
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Everything in moderation
It’s easy to say don’t drink, don’t eat too much junk, don’t party until the wee hours of the morning – but college is full of social activities that you don’t want to miss out on. If you do partake, just remember not to overindulge. It’s okay to have a couple of drinks, but don’t make a habit of drinking until you pass out or going clubbing multiple nights in a row.
The same goes with eating unhealthily. The occasional burger or cookie is fine, but strive for a healthy diet most of the time. Make sure you’re maintaining a proper balance of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Bring healthy snacks such as nuts, fruits and granola bars with you on late-night study sessions to avoid binging on vending machine candy and chips.
By making small but beneficial changes to your daily routine, you can still enjoy all that university life has to offer without endangering your health in the process.