Once high school ends and college begins, remaining fit and staying healthy poses a large challenge for many new freshmen.
Unlike most high schools, there is no required sports participation and family isn’t there to prepare you healthy, home cooked meals. Its no wonder the freshman fifteen has become a reality for many first year college students.
Staying healthy in college is important for enjoyment of life as well as your ability to focus in the classroom. Here are three tips to help you get the most out of your college experience and stay healthy before graduation!
How to Stay Healthy in College
1. Build a Habit of Fitness Early
When entering a new environment, the best time to build behaviors is in the first week. The dining hall you visit for the first couple times will likely become the one you visit most frequently for the rest of the year. Your sleep habits during the first month will remain largely unchanged through your first few semesters.
Make an effort to visit the gym at least twice a week during your first days of college. Doing this will train your brain that in this environment, normal behavior involves adding regular trips to the gym in between classes and homework.
Neglect to visit the gym and the opposite effect takes hold. Ignoring to focus on fitness early on will train your brain that negligence is acceptable. As time goes on, adding workouts to your schedule will only become a more and more difficult habit to engrain.
2. Join a College Team
If you have the time, joining a college intramural team is a great way to stay fit. Even if you only want to compete at the club level, sports are a great outlet for energy and a fun way to add fitness into your schedule.
Your teammates will hold you accountable for your performance, and you will not want to disappoint them by missing games or practice. This alone will go a long way towards keeping you on a fitness schedule that helps you stay in shape.
The only downside of joining a college team is the time commitment. Some teams require daily morning workouts or weeknight evening practices. If you have a challenging course load, adding this commitment to your freshman year can potentially lead to large amounts of unnecessary stress.
3. Avoid Study Food (Junk Food)
When you’re up late studying for your impending midterm, it can be all too tempting to run to the dorm vending machine for a quick treat.
If you are at all interested in remaining fit in college, this is a habit you must avoid above anything else. Far too many freshmen get into this habit early and carry it with them all through college.
Eating junk food will make you sluggish. In addition, the empty calories it contains will quickly be taken on as fat. Eating this food will also make you less eager to go to the gym, and when you finally do push yourself you will see less results for your efforts.
Your Health is in Your Own Hands
Once you leave home, you will need to take full responsibility for your own health. Make sure you build the right habits early so that you can give yourself the best experience possible during these short four years.
Cut back on the sweets, and join a college league if you need the pressure of a teammate to take your fitness seriously. The truth is that you are now responsible for your own choices and nobody will make the hard decisions for you.