College is one of early adulthood’s most memorable experiences. From choosing a major to meeting a diverse group of peers from all walks of life, it’s a period of transition rich in novelty and excitement. Because of this, it is common for college students both young and old to neglect their health while grappling with homework, studying for tests, and attending the occasional party. However, there are a few quick and simple tricks for staying healthy despite a busy semester.
Keep Your Hands Clean
The first semester of the academic year begins along with fall and dropping temperatures means it’s prime season for the common cold. Likewise, with classrooms packing in more desks than ever, the average college student is encountering at least a hundred strangers a week, often in the close quarters of the classroom. This means, of course, that you’re exposed to all of the germs and viruses they’re carrying with them. It’s a chilling thought, but staying healthy in this environment can be as simple as regularly washing your hands. The most important times to do this are before meals and after using the restroom. If you’re really serious about your health, consider packing some hand wipes or a travel bottle of hand sanitizer along with your textbooks. You can even make them part of a mini travel health kit along with some aspirin, a toothbrush and floss handles for on-the-go dental health, and a few band-aids.
Put Down the Coffee and Candy
Coffee, soda, energy drinks, and even chocolate might make late night study sessions more bearable, but too much caffeine and sugar can negatively impact your health. From upset stomachs, cavities and gum disease, to disturbed sleep patterns, caffeine and sugar in large doses can lead to negative health effects that might force you to miss important lectures. Likewise, while it can keep you awake in the short term, caffeine consumption is inevitably followed by a crash, leaving you more exhausted than when you started. Instead of a quick energy fix, focus on diet choices that keep you energized throughout the day. Stick with clean protein sources and fiber-rich vegetables to fuel you throughout your busy semester. As an added bonus, these food choices, unlike sugary energy drinks, won’t wreak havoc on your dental health, a common problem faced by college students who neglect healthy diets.
You’ve doubtless heard of the dreaded “freshman 15,” an expression that refers to the habit of new college students inevitably gaining a few extra pounds during their first semester. A busy course load can make managing your diet difficult, but one simple trick to staving off weight gain is to focus on hydration. Often times when you feel hungry it is actually because you are thirsty. Getting enough water not only prevents overeating, but also improves concentration, as dehydration can lead to disorientation and difficulty thinking. You can save money and have a convenient water supply at the ready by buying a cheap, reusable water bottle.
Get a Flu Shot
While washing your hands regularly should keep off most colds and viruses, all it takes is one sneeze from a careless person to expose you to the flu. Flu season falls squarely near winter, which, being near the end of the first semester, is often one of the busiest times of the school year thanks to final exams. Get a jump on flu season by getting a simple flu shot before the cold weather sets in. A typical flu shot is only about $25, well within the means of even the most cash-strapped student.
Depending on your college, you may even be able to get one discounted or for free through the campus’s health services office. Health services can also recommend doctor and services from a dentist in Hammond LA for regular physicals and teeth cleanings, provide free contraceptives, advice for keeping your teeth clean on the go, and other helpful information, so give them a visit.
Fitting in an exercise routine into your busy class schedule may seem difficult, but there’s a few simple ways of doing this. One of the easiest is to add an athletic class to your course load. Most colleges require this as part of your general education requirements anyway, plus you’ll be earning credits while also staying fit. If that isn’t an option, try sprinkling exercise throughout your day as it will add up. Walk to classes, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and join an intramural team to socialize instead of relying on dorm parties.
Stay Fit While You Learn
Making the Dean’s List doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your health in the process. While college can be demanding, small choices that are easy to fit into any schedule can have a huge impact on your health. Washing your hands regularly, walking to classes, and making healthy meal choices on the go are just a few of the steps you can take to stay healthy during a busy semester.