We all know how baby birds are fed and taken care of by their parents until it's time to leave their nests and fly out into the world. Students going away to college for the first time can relate to that feeling, right?
It's not easy to leave the warmth of your home and learn to manage everything on your own. College students have multiple struggles, from tests and assignments to busy schedules and extra-curricular activities.
With so much going on, what really tends to suffer is their health. They often find themselves stressed and short on time, developing unhealthy eating and living habits during the course of their time in college.
The most common health problem faced by college students is unhealthy weight gain. Hence, parents must have a casual health-related conversation with their children before they leave for college. The key idea to make them listen is to talk and not lecture.
Rather than just listing rules and recommendations, it's better to start by asking for their opinions on certain health aspects. This way, they can share what they already know and talk about what they don't.
Here are some key points on how students can keep themselves healthy in college.
● Most college students skip breakfast if they’re running late for their classes, which is the root of several health problems. It's just like trying to start a car with an almost-empty gas tank. Sure, you can do it, but the car isn’t going to get very far. Wake up early to enjoy your morning meal and store handy breakfast items to eat when you are running late (granola bars are great for this).
● Having meals at regular intervals is also crucial for healthy weight management. People who go too long without eating tend to overeat when they finally sit down to eat.
● Snacks are an integral part of those stressful study sessions in college. However, rather than being tempted by candies and ice creams made with obscene amounts of refined sugar, satisfy your cravings and hunger pangs with healthy snacks like dried fruit and whole wheat crackers.
● Visiting restaurants and cafes with friends is a major highlight of college life. Don't worry; eating healthy doesn't mean you should avoid dining out. You can look for interesting salads or other healthy options. Fast food isn’t bad - fast food everyday is what will ruin your waistline.
● Maintaining a balanced diet is undoubtedly difficult for college students. Hence, vitamins and supplements are necessary to avoid nutrient deficiency.
● Everyone knows how essential water is for a healthy body. However, it's easy to forget about your water intake when you have a busy schedule. In such cases, you can use technology to stay hydrated. How? By setting alarms at regular intervals, reminding you to drink a glass or two of water.
● Caffeine from teas and coffees can make you feel active but also lead to problems like jitters and heightened emotions. Milk and fruit juices are better choices to remain energetic throughout the day.
Learn How to Handle Alcohol
● Learn how much alcohol you can handle depending on your age, gender, weight, and how you feel at the time.
● Never drink on an empty stomach because alcohol enters your bloodstream through your stomach and small intestine. It will enter your bloodstream more quickly if your stomach's empty.
● Don’t just rely on getting drunk at parties to have a good time. Instead engage in other activities, like dancing, talking, and playing alcohol-free games.
● Set a drink limit and stick to it by counting the number of times you fill your cup. Avoid drinking in rounds with friends who drink too much.
● Remember, attending those morning classes with a hangover is not worth it at all!
Exercise Regularly & Sleep Enough
● Working out with a friend is one of the best ways to ensure that you receive your recommended amount of exercise, whether at the gym, in a pick-up game, or at a sports club. ● Get in the habit of parking far from your destinations (college, grocery shops, etc.) Those extra walks are great for healthy weight management. ● Try to make it a habit to sleep at a fixed time. Wind down your body before that time through meditation, a good book, or a relaxing bath. You can wake up early if you have incomplete assignments or a test the next day.
● Do not procrastinate when it comes to completing the assignments that otherwise require you to pull all-nighters.
Restart if You Fail to Maintain a Healthy Weight
Don't worry if you fall off the wagon at some point and put on the pounds in college. The key is to get yourself back on track as soon as possible. Try out a different approach than the one with which you started. For example, if you were focusing more on your diet before, try shifting your focus to exercise instead.