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6 Tips For Staying Healthy in College

6 Tips For Staying Healthy in College

College can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be a very stressful one. If you don’t take the time to maintain your health, you may find yourself running out of steam before the semester is through. Luckily, there are a variety of ways to help keep you in tip-top shape so that you can perform at your best and get the most out of your education.

1. Make the Right Food Choices

Everyone has heard of the “freshman 15,” alluding to the weight gain most incoming freshmen experience during their first year in school. Much of this is attributed to being in full control of your food choices for the first time. Most student diets are full of pizza, burgers, and beer. These types of food can leave you feeling sluggish as they are not healthy food choices.

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By making your diet a priority, you can make sure you are consuming all of the nutrients you need to support optimal health. It can also help you fight off weight gain while maintaining your energy. Don’t skip breakfast, even if all you can squeeze in is a banana, ensure you are getting your daily doses of fruits and vegetables, lean meats or proteins, and top it off with healthy fats. That way, you can be sure you are eating well-rounded food choices which are crucial to maintaining your health.

2. Avoid All-Nighters

Sleep is also critical to health. Staying up late every night cramming for tests, or partying with other college students won’t give you the ability to fight off disease, or even to focus properly. Try to arrange your schedule to allow for a full eight hours of sleep every night. If you absolutely must miss some sleep, see if you can fit a nap into your schedule the next day to make up for some of the difference.

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3. Get Your Shots

No, not the alcoholic kind – the kind that can save your life one day. It is easy to take a minute to get a flu shot and is highly recommended for those living in dorms. The close quarters make it easier for disease to spread. Getting your flu shot can make you immune to some of the strains that are expected to be particularly powerful that year. That means that even if your roommate catches it, you should be able to skip it.

4. Hydrate for Health

Just as making the right food choices is challenging for some students, remembering to stay hydrated can be even harder. Make sure that most of what you are drinking is plain water, or consider decaffeinated tea if you prefer some flavor (as long as you skip the sugar). Avoid having too many sodas and excessive alcohol consumption.

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5. Stay Active

Some people, when they go away to school, don’t keep active. Many spend their nights partying, drinking, playing video games etc. There are very few who take the time to go out and get some exercise. Staying active and doing a few exercises per week can really help to keep healthy. Even if it’s joining a school sports team or a club team, try to do something active at least once a week.

6. Kick Back and Relax

Every now and then, you need to stop and put your feet up. Relaxation can be critical to your overall health – both mental and physical. It helps you fight stress and gives you a way to break from the educational routine.

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Now, you don’t have to just sit there and do nothing. Choose activities that help you feel at ease. For someone people, spending time with friends can be rejuvenating, while others may prefer curling up with a good book. The most important part is to take the time to recharge, no matter what that means. Your body will thank you for it.

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Shelly Green

Entrepreneur writer and a blogger

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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