Student life is full of tons of new experiences. Juggling lectures, studying, parties, and work can cause you to put staying healthy at university on the back burner. The lure of cheap and tasty fast food can steer you away from fresh fruit and veg more than you realize. As well as this, it’s easy to count clubbing as your own cardio. While you might get energetic on the dance floor, it’s less effective if you’re downing sugary drinks and snacking on late night chips afterwards.
Staying healthy at university is about building good habits and making it as easy as possible to stick to them, even under pressure. For many, uni is the first time they’re making decisions without their parents around to remind (or nag at) them. Here are a few bits of advice for staying healthy at uni and ways to make it easier to stick to your health resolutions.
1. Start by making good sleep a priority
When we say make sleep a priority, it doesn’t mean sleeping past that first (or second) lecture because you were having another late night. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, especially when the days are filled with studying, lectures, work, and more. Without sleep, you’ll be grumpy and struggle to socialize. When you do study, you’ll find it hard to stay focused.
While it can be tough to head home before the party’s over, getting to bed at a reasonable time is crucial. You might have FOMO in the moment, but you’ll thank yourself later. Don’t be tempted to pull all-nighters when you’re behind on work either! Professors would prefer you ask for an extension than hand in something you blearily threw together at 4 AM.
2. Try to get moving daily
Exercise has so many benefits. It can improve your ability to remember the crucial points of your lectures and studies. This means you’ll be able to concentrate better and think more critically. It’s normal not to always feel like getting up to go for a ramble or hitting the gym. However, experts say if you do, you’ll feel better afterwards because exercise boosts your mood. And if you have difficulty getting to sleep on time every night, a good workout can help tire you out. By bedtime, you’ll be ready to relax.
Your uni will have a ton of sports clubs and groups at all levels. Joining one can be a great way to meet people you’d never have come across, as well as keeping fit. If you prefer to work out alone, try running, yoga, or swimming.
Need a way to get active every day but don’t have the time? Take your bike to uni and pedal around instead of taking the bus. Your travel time has now become your work-out time – doubly efficient!
3. Your diet makes a significant impact—plan ahead
Chips, pizza, and convenient takeaway can quickly become a daily habit. Not getting enough nutrients can obviously affect you physically. It can also make it harder to concentrate on your work and remember the things you’re there to study. Because many students are on the go all day, planning is essential. Choose a quieter day each week and prep your meals in advance. Have them ready in the fridge for fast grab-and-go.
4. Drink of choice?
It sounds too good to be true, but water will do you wonders. Many people don’t realize how vital staying hydrated is, especially after a fun night out. Stop drinking alcohol before you’ve had too much, and make sure to pound the water before you go to sleep.
It’s a simple step for a simple habit—get a refillable water bottle and keep it with you. Some even have marks on the side, so you can track your water intake throughout the day!
5. Doctors and dentists are so important to staying healthy at university
If you’re heading to uni and it’s far from home, remember to sign up with a local doctor and dentist. Don’t hesitate go to them when you’re not feeling quite right. While students tend to be a fairly healthy group overall, sometimes issues pop up that need attention. Your sore throat that hasn’t gone away for weeks, or a run-down feeling that no amount of sleep can fix. A painful tooth, or blurry vision. Any of these probably mean it’s time to head in for a checkup. Lots of clinics in student areas also have drop-in hours when you can visit without an appointment.
6. Your mental health matters, too
Your mental health can impact your physical health, and vice-versa. And university life is full of new changes and pressures that can get to anyone. If you need help, reach out. Many universities have tons of resources for students, and your doctor is another resource. Don’t wait to speak up when stress levels get too high. While studying, schedule frequent breaks to move your body and chat to friends.
Practice healthy habits for uni success
Your time at university can be a fantastic learning experience for your course of study and the life experience you’ll get. But don’t forget to take care of your health! You’ll get much more out of your time there and feel better during the process.