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How to Stay Healthy Juggling School and a Full-Time Job

How to Stay Healthy Juggling School and a Full-Time Job

Trying to balance work and school is difficult task by itself, and throwing in your New Year’s Resolution of getting fit makes it even more difficult. The thought of having all this on your plate is enough to make most people order a pizza, sit on the couch and drop their annual fitness goals around February, but I urge you not to believe the misconception that you can’t work full time, go to school, and stay healthy. I’ll show you exactly how I’ve been doing it for years!

Schedule

scheudle

    One of the reasons why a lot of people find it difficult to balance work, school, and a healthy lifestyle is because they don’t schedule anything and just try to “fit in” gym visits. When you have plenty of free time to work out at your leisure, you might be able to get away with this, but working 40+ hours a week and dedicating around 20 hours a week to school doesn’t give you much leeway in terms of working out and eating right. You need to develop a set schedule of when you’re going to go to the gym and when you’re going to eat meals.
    When you create your schedule, make sure that it’s reasonable and something you can stick with. If you know you can’t wake up at 5 Am to hit the gym (I’m not a morning person at all), schedule it for another time because you’ll end up throwing your entire schedule out of whack by making an inconvenient plan that you won’t be able to commit to.

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    Pack your lunch

    pack your lunch

      Nutrition was a huge issue for me when I first started trying to get healthy, and it’s something that I’m sure a lot of you struggle with as well. I learned the importance of making sure I packed my own food when I was working at night and going to school 4 days a week right after I finished work.
      When you’re constantly on the move, it’s very tempting to hit the closest fast food restaurant you can find and get something to eat ASAP because you’re usually going a long time in between meals—as soon as you get a little free time you want food immediately and will grab whatever is convenient (which isn’t healthy food 9 times out of 10). In order to fix this, start making your food and taking it with you. My go-to meal was chicken, rice, and mixed veggies that I made ahead of time, which could be stored easily in little plastic containers and taken to work. Some other good food choices are:

      • Smoothies
      • Sandwiches (use whole-grain bread)
      • Mixed fruits
      • Greek yogurt

      These were all things that I kept on hand because they can be consumed quickly, are good for you, and don’t require cooking! Start eating 6 small meals throughout the day to decrease cravings and to avoid starvation. If you need more help in the nutrition department, here are some helpful tricks for healthy eating.

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      Keep a gym bag in your car

      gym bag in car

        I once put off going to the gym after getting out of class because I didn’t want to go home, get my gym stuff and go back to the gym. This is when I realized that I needed to start carrying a gym bag in my car, packed with shorts, shoes, and a shirt. This way, I’d be ready to go to the gym at any time. You don’t want to give yourself any reason not to go to work out. If you took the first tip and penciled gym time into your schedule, you should already have your gear ready to go, but sometimes things come up and your schedule gets altered. Also, if you get out of class or work early one day, you can get in a workout before you go home!

        Join your school gym

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        college gym

          If you’re fortunate enough to have a gym on campus, take advantage of it. Today, it’s no longer just universities that have gyms for students: many community colleges also have gyms on campus that’s accessible to students. You just have to fill out some paperwork and present your school ID to get access. My school’s gym is completely free for all who attend it, so it saves time and money. I still have a gym membership elsewhere though because I like to have a gym close to my house— if you can afford it, it’s nice to have two options available like that.

          Start slowly

          OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

            The entire idea of getting fit and improving your life is very fun and exciting, and because of this, it’s easy to just go all in right away and immediately want to hit the gym 5 days a week. Commitment is great, and necessary, but you want to try to pace yourself into it. If you start out by going to the gym 5 days a week on top of your hectic schedule, it’s easy to wear yourself out quickly. Getting fit is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, and pacing yourself will really benefit you in the long run.

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            You’re already dedicating over 60 hours of your week to work and school, so trying to stretch yourself to go to the gym another 10 hours a week is a lot. It’s certainly not impossible, but chances are your body isn’t accustomed to such a strenuous schedule. Just like your muscles, you have to gradually develop your schedule. Consider starting out by going to the gym 2 days a week, and after doing this consistently for a while, add on another day or two.

            Use Apps

            fitness apps

              I love fitness apps, and really grew to appreciate them while both at school and working full time. Because we’re always running around, it’s hard to track things like our workouts, calorie intake and even daily schedules. At the very least, you should have an app for tracking your diet/calories, but if you’d like to track your workouts, get an app for that too. There are many great fitness apps out there, and you can check some out here: The Top 10 iPhone Apps for Losing Weight and Getting in Shape

              Balancing work, school, and a healthy lifestyle is hard, but using these tips and tools helps me stay on top of it all. Don’t give up on that New Year’s Resolution just yet—let’s get fit!

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              Last Updated on March 25, 2020

              How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

              How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

              When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

              So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

              1. Exercise

              It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

              2. Drink in Moderation

              I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

              3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

              Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

              4. Watch Less Television

              A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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              Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

              5. Eat Less Red Meat

              Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

              If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

              6. Don’t Smoke

              This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

              7. Socialize

              Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

              8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

              Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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              9. Be Optimistic

              Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

              10. Own a Pet

              Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

              11. Drink Coffee

              Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

              12. Eat Less

              Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

              13. Meditate

              Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

              Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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              How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

              14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

              Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

              15. Laugh Often

              Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

              16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

              Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

              17. Cook Your Own Food

              When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

              Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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              18. Eat Mushrooms

              Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

              19. Floss

              Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

              20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

              Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

              Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

              21. Have Sex

              Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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              Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

              Reference

              [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
              [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
              [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
              [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
              [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
              [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
              [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
              [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
              [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
              [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
              [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
              [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
              [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
              [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
              [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
              [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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