I used to think it was nearly impossible to stay healthy in college. I figured it was normal to eat like crap, not exercise, and feel all around blah. However, over the last two years, I have focused heavily on turning my health around. I am so excited to share the things I have found keep me healthy while I am in college (and will continue to after I graduate).
Focus on Diet
It took me a long time to realize that no amount of exercise could outwork a bad diet. While I always knew the importance of a good diet, I never placed a priority on it. About a year and a half ago I participated in a healthy living program that changed my life. This program taught me how to properly nourish my body, improve my energy, and increase my immune system.
By eliminating highly processed foods and focusing on a whole foods diet, I have started feeling the best I have felt in years! While it might not always be the easiest to pass on the pizza and opt for healthier options, I have learned how to create my favorite foods with healthier alternatives. This creative aspect has allowed me to have more fun with clean eating!
While the dining center might not always have the healthiest options, it is easy to find substitutes and shop for healthy snacks between meals. If you are not required to have a meal plan on campus or have the ability to cook your own meals, I definitely recommend planning and prepping meals for the week, which is what I opt to do as an off campus status to stay healthy in college.
Move a Little Every Day
While not everyone enjoys spending a ton of time in the gym every day (I know I don’t), it is important to get moving every.single.day. Even if you don’t have any specific fitness goals, it’s a good idea to move your body. I have found that consistently moving my body by going to the gym, walking my dog, or doing yoga has helped improve my mental health, sleep, and overall alertness throughout the day. In addition to the physical benefits that you experience, there is also something awesome that happens mentally when you continuously show up for yourself and prioritize your health.
Use a Probiotic and Prebiotic
Your gut microbiome contributes a great deal to your overall health. While you are able to add food to your diet that have probiotics in them, they are typically lower in actual probiotics than supplements. Probiotics allow your gut to keep the good bacteria doing their job while minimizing the bad bacteria. This is great to maintain optimal health in college! If you do not already have a probiotic that you love, I use this Digestion Plus daily and recommend to everyone!
Get Enough Sleep
I don’t think I need to convince any young adult that getting enough sleep is important to your health. Some of the benefits include mental clarity, decrease in stress, and energy to get through the day. Ideally, we should be trying to get 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night. While I understand that life and homework happen, it takes being disciplined and practicing good habits to get restful sleep to stay healthy in college.
In case you struggle falling asleep at night, I recommend avoiding your phone at least an hour before bed, journaling or implementing other night routines to help you wind down, and working out in the evening to exert some of the excess energy from throughout the day. There are also many supplements that you could look in to, though I recommend consulting a health professional if you decide to go this route.
Keep Your Space Clean
I don’t know about you, but I feel my best when the space around me is clean. Keeping clutter in your living space also allows clutter into your mind. Besides decluttering, it is a good habit to consistently wipe down counters in your kitchen and bathroom, wash your sheets, and sweep the floor. Although it can seem like the least of your worries, a clean space means less germs that can compromise your health.
Drink Your Water
Anyone who knows me knows I LOVEEEEEEE me some water! I do not go anywhere without it. While I know not everyone enjoys water as much as me, it is a good practice to get in the habit of. A good goal to reach for is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day. So if you was 140 pounds, you would need to drink a minimum of 70 ounces of water a day.