I hope you are all having a wonderful week! I had a really nice surprise in my email this morning. I got an email saying “You’ve been nominated for eCollegeFinder’s top Health and Fitness Blog Award!” Huge reward in my small world. It has totally made my year! 🙂
Anyway, as part of the award they asked me to answer the question:
“What’s the best way for busy college students to maintain a healthy lifestyle?”
And let’s face it, even those of us who are not college students are busy and could probably benefit from some tips.
One of the nice things about college is it is a time of big changes and a time of big opportuinities. The world is your oyster and you can experiment and test out different classes, majors, hobbies, social groups and activities. It is a time of growing independence and self development. It can be a wonderful time filled with loads of fun and it can also be filled with lots of stress and added pressure.
Changes in routine, especially major ones, naturally lead to change in habits. It is definitely not uncommon for college students to move away from home and find it harder to make/find healthy food choices and find time to continue to exercise. Hence the Freshman 15! Lots of people gain weight at this time. I believe that this is true at any stage in our lives where we have big changes, moves, new jobs, new office jobs, having kids, getting married etc… You get the picture!
So what do we do about it?!?
1. Take the pressure off. Change is stressful and we are not perfect. It is ok to take time out from the gym, not to eat perfectly or get straight A’s.
2. Fad diets don’t work, so save yourself the misery, don’t even go there. Fad diets, in my opinion lead to very disordered thinking, which is a terrible trap to get yourself into. If they did work, we would all know about it!
3. It is normal and natural for your body to change as you get older. This is true for any age group but particularly young women. It is normal to be curvy and healthy.
4. We are all different and have things we like and like less about our bodies and ourselves. This is OK, in fact it is a wonderful thing. Don’t compare yourself to anyone but you. Make your healthy living goals personal not comparable. Celebrate your differences, don’t beat yourself up.
6. Join your college gym. One of the lovely things about being on a college campus is that usually there are college gyms on campus or very close by. They tend to be convenient, affordable and accessible. See how you like it, try out different classes and machines. Ask the floor staff for advice and help if you don’t know how to use a machine. If you have a two hour gap in your timetable fill some of in with a gym session and a healthy snack!
7. Hate the gym!?! That is OK too! There are many clubs and groups you can get involved with. Join a team, or many teams. Figure out what you like and make new friends along the way.
8. Walk everywhere and increase your incidental exercise. Many college campuses are very convenient, because many college students can’t afford cars. So take advantage of this and walk! (Of course keep safe and never walk alone late at night).
9. Have fun, relax and enjoy yourself! Growing up and going throught college can be an angsty time that you will look back upon (probably) and MISS! So enjoy the moment. Healthy is not just about how much you weigh or what you ate for breakfast, but about happyness and how you feel.
10. Live a balanced life. Use exercise as a “guilt free” study break. Explore your town, get out and try new activities. Every day shouldn’t be high pressures and stressful. It is great to be focussed but not at the expense of a wholistic, healthy and happy life! Don’t be afraid to seek out professional help if you are struggling. There are so many resources around at colleges, so take advantage!
What are your healthy living tips? How did you cope with college or other major changes in your life? Feel free to share any links to favourite recipes or workouts or tips!