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When it comes to doing well in college or university, you might be focusing on your grades, study habits and getting involved on campus. Some students are so focused on their classes, however, that they forget about their physical health — but neither your body nor mind will work well without the other. If you want to enjoy a strong, powerful brain and excel academically, you need to know how to take care of yourself physically.
Here are a few ways to improve physical health.
1. Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods
As always, it’s essential to eat a balanced diet. Most first-years have access to meal plans, so it’s not usually a challenge to find healthy options. Whether or not you need to cook for yourself, it’s always smart to prioritize what you put into your body. You should build a colorful plate that includes fruits, vegetables, proteins and grains. This way, you can feel energized enough to make it through the day.
Of course, it’s not possible to never make indulgent food choices. You may need to grab a burrito on the way to class if you don’t have time, or it may feel good to grab a brownie at the end of a long week. Occasional indulgences shouldn’t cause a massive difference unless they turn into habits. When you can, pack a lunch and snacks when you can’t stop at home for food, and try to de-stress in ways other than eating.
2. Create a Fitness Routine
Now that you’re solely responsible for your wellness, it’s up to you to set aside the time to work out. If you were a high school athlete, you might be used to a frequent fitness routine. While you don’t have to uphold those strict standards, you should block out space for exercise. Whether you go to the gym three times a week or choose to walk to class every day, it’s necessary to stay fit.
Don’t be afraid to start small, either. You don’t need to jump into an intense weight challenge that claims to build muscles by next month. Instead, begin at your own pace. Eventually, you’ll create a system that makes sense for you.
3. Listen to Your Body
It’s easy to become worn down after only a few weeks at school. Even if you’re a senior, college can feel incredibly stressful at times. That’s why it’s crucial to listen to your body. If you don’t, you may push yourself too hard and end up with negative results.
When you sit down for a meal, it’s necessary to practice a level of mindfulness – this way, you won’t overeat. If you feel tired, take a small break and relax for a moment. Do you have a headache? Drink some water! It’s all about listening to yourself.
4. Ignore Peer Pressure
This step may be easier said than done, but it’s necessary to recognize how peer pressure can harm you physically. Many college students face more opportunities to try alcohol and other drugs while at school. If you’re old enough, a drink or two on the weekends won’t hurt — but it’s vital to only drink in safe spaces with people you trust, and limit your intake to prevent extreme intoxication and other physical issues, including a higher risk of depression and liver disease.
While you don’t want to feel isolated from others, peer pressure can lead you to physical harm. If you plan to go to a party, make smart, informed decisions.
5. Build a Sleep Schedule
A major college stereotype revolves around sleep. It turns out that assumption may be correct – due to huge assignments and deadlines, 60% of all students don’t sleep well enough. Sure, you may need to stay up until 1 a.m. to complete a project, but that shouldn’t be the norm. Instead, you need to strive for a solid sleep schedule.
Do your best to go to bed at a decent hour every night. Most young adults need around seven hours of rest, so set your alarm for a suitable time. You should also avoid your phone beforehand, as its blue light can make it harder for you to fall asleep. On the weekends, you can be a little more flexible. As long as you listen to your body and sleep when it feels right, you’ll thrive.
Remember to Take Care of Yourself Physically in College
As a college student, it’s vital to learn how to take care of yourself physically as well as mentally and emotionally. Use these tips to stay strong, safe and healthy so you can enjoy your time at school.