5 tips for staying healthy while away at college

SHARE 5 tips for staying healthy while away at college
SHARE 5 tips for staying healthy while away at college

I live near a university, so last week I watched new students and parents move their things onto campus.

There have been all sorts of welcome-to-campus events and a lot of parties. But this week, classes start there as they do at other colleges across the country.

So it’s a good time to offer some tips on how to stay healthy while away at school:

Sleep! It is tempting to stay up all night making new friends. Save that for the weekends, if you must. You need to sleep a good eight hours a night if you are going to do well in classes. (Some may do fine with seven and others may need nine, experts say, so see what works for you.) There’s no one at college to nag you about getting up, so don’t let a lack of sleep make it too easy to skip class.

Keep junk food to a minimum. Someone always is ready to order a pizza in a dorm. Or set up nightly chips and dip. Don’t fall into that habit; it’s an easy way to gain weight quickly.

Eat healthy meals. College dorms have improved the quality of the foods in their cafeterias. It is easy to eat salads, veggies and fruit. Fish and grilled meats often are available. But so are calorie- and carb-rich offerings. Don’t overdo it.

Get some exercise. For a lot of students, their freshman year of college is their first school year not playing a sport. Find some way to get moving. Walk the campus, go to the college gym, sign up for intramural sports. Get a bike. Do something! You’ll keep your body strong, and exercise is a great stress reliever.

Watch the booze. There will be lots of opportunities to drink. There really is no reason to go overboard. It’ll leave you with headaches at best and could cause you to make some bad — sometimes dangerous — judgment calls at worst. Nurse a beer, then have a bottle of water, is a Super Bowl routine I learned from dietitian/author Dawn Jackson Blatner. It’ll work here, too.Follow that pattern and you’ll drink less.

PHOTO CREDIT: AL PODGORSKI~SUN-TIMES MEDIA FILE PHOTO

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