You may think that once you’ve entered into college it means you’ve set yourself up for failure in the health department. Understandably, from the moment you set foot on campus, you booze, socialize, stress, and repeat, which leaves you little to no time for sleep, exercise, or even thinking about your health.
Actually, the idea that it’s impossible to stay fit and healthy in college is a common misconception. There have been more than enough cases to prove that you can enter and Exit College in the same or even better shape compared to before. But how do you begin? To help you get started, here are six ways you can actually get fit and healthy in your college routine:
- Set a fitness goal and stick to it. Most students think they simply don’t have the time for exercise. But that’s not true. There’s always a time for everything. If you’re serious about getting fit and healthy during your years in college, then create a fitness plan and make it happen. You can start by setting a goal to move 60 minutes a day at a minimum and break a sweat at least thrice a week. Check out gym equipment, such as treadmills, stationary bikes, and rowing machines, for fitness and weight loss. You don’t need to try them all at once. Go at your own pace and see where it leads from there.
- Walk the campus. Don’t even think about using the shuttle service to get from your dorm to the farthest class. A 20-minute walk to school and another 20-minute walk back home means 40 whole minutes of exercise without requiring you to even step foot inside the gym. See? You don’t even need to try so hard to get the exercise you need in a day. Just make sure your neighborhood is safe and get at least one friend to walk with you whenever possible.
- Make sure every meal contains some healthy fats. Whether you believe it or not, there is such a thing called healthy fat, which includes omega-3, monounsaturated fat, medium-chain triglycerides, and more. This nutrient is necessary for satiety, an essential part of weight management. You can get some simply from a drizzle of olive oil or from seeds and nuts sprinkled on your salad. The good news is it only takes a couple of tablespoons to hit the requirement per meal.
- Schedule your workout like a class. Plan your week ahead and dedicate specific time slots for your workout sessions. Stop making excuses. You can be pretty good at persuading yourself out of your commitments, but it’s time to ditch the laziness and be accountable to yourself. Make sure your designated workout time fits around your class schedule efficiently. Keep in mind that you want to treat your workout like a class but not stress about it like one.
- Get enough sleep. It has long been proven that having the right amount of sleep in a day is a vital aspect of staying fit and healthy. Pulling an all-nighter to work on a project, or more realistically, to binge-watch a show on Netflix, sounds tempting but will do no good for your health in any way. Not getting enough sleep makes you just as useless during workouts as you are in class. The National Sleep Foundation states that adults require between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. So get some sleep. You need it.
- Sign up for an intramural sport. Awaken the star athlete within you and take a chance on playing a club or intramural sport. Go for tryouts and don’t be afraid to fail. The worst that could happen is you end up learning a new skill and gaining friends. And, playing the sport would allow you to catch up with your teammates while working out at the same time. Talk about efficiency.
You need the exercise. You know you do. But you also know how to be realistic. There will be moments when working out seems difficult and not worth your time. Give yourself a break from time to time and don’t overexert yourself. Achieving balance in your life is what you must aim for. Remember, it’s never too late to stay fit and stay healthy in college.
About Scott Murphy
Scott Murphy rowed crew at college in upstate New York and still has the same passion for the sport over 20 years later. He is a regular contributor to allrowers.com, a site offering reviews, workouts, industry news and education about the benefits of rowing and regular exercise.