College is a time for experimenting: experimenting socially, experimenting with alcohol, and experimenting with new habits. As college students, we are on our own. We are independent and can do essentially anything we want. This can lead to partying too much, drinking too much alcohol, and eating too much food…thus ending up with the lovely freshmen 15. It’s so easy to really lose ourselves in terms of health when we’re in college because there’s so much more available, but I think it’s so important to keep health in mind. I’ve come up with my top tips that have helped me stay healthy in college!
- Walk as much as you can. This is the simplest tip to stay healthy in college. If you live within a mile, or more if you want, I highly recommend walking to campus everyday. It’s a great way to get in a little cardio and it’s actually really relaxing. I walk to school everyday, rain or shine, and I love it. It is really nice listening to music and just letting my mind wander. When you have the choice to take the bus or walk, walk.
- Get in the habit of working out. I bet most colleges have a really nice gym with a bunch of different equipment. The rec center at the University of Oregon is the nicest gym I will ever be able to go to, so I use it while I have it. Try going to the gym just a few days a week to get your heart rate up and break a sweat. It will make you feel really great! I workout basically every weekday because I’ve built this great schedule for myself. If you make the gym a priority, you’ll do it and you’ll learn to love it!
- Find things that get you active and are fun. There’s so much out there that can get you active, besides the gym. If you love the outdoors, go for a hike or go bike riding. If you love workout classes, go to SoulCycle or do some group yoga. I’ve recently discovered Peloton bikes and I am obsessed. Peloton is so fun and is honestly such a great workout. If you have the opportunity, try it! Intramural sports is also a GREAT way to get active. I do intramural ultimate frisbee and let me tell you… that is the best workout ever. I run so much in one game, but it doesn’t feel like I’m working out because it’s so dang fun! Find something you love and do it!
- Cook rather than go out to eat. I’m still working on this tip for myself. It’s so easy to go out to a restaurant and just pay money for a meal rather than cook for yourself. It just seems more convenient; however, cooking your own food is much healthier. Find meals on Pinterest that look good and are easy and quick to make. By making your own food, you control how much oil and salt is going into it. Also, you are ultimately saving $$, so it’s a win-win.
- Make a grocery list. I do one main grocery store run a week, typically Saturday or Sunday mornings. I usually get the same food every week because I know what I like, but I still make a list. Grocery lists make sure you’re getting what you actually need rather than getting things you want. I’d say try and have your list 90% healthy and 10% anything you want. Trader Joe’s has the best food in the entire world and a lot of their pre-made meals are relatively healthy, so I recommend doing your grocery shopping there.
- Find friends who want to follow a healthy lifestyle as well. Surrounding yourself with people who also have the same goals as you is so motivating. I love it when my friends want to go to the gym and eat healthy because it makes me want to go to the gym and eat healthy as well. Having people with the same goals keeps you both accountable and makes it comforting that you have a partner. Also, if you’re competitive, like me, you can think of everything as a competition. “Oh you went to the gym 3 times last week, well I’m going to go 5 times.” Maybe that’s just me because I’m so competitive, but it works haha.
- Limit the alcohol intake. Partying in college is pretty big. As a freshmen, it’s exciting because college parties are new. As years progress, people start turning 21 and it seems like there are “21ers” all the time. Then you turn 21 and are finally able to go to the bars. Alcohol is just a thing in college. I suggest limiting the alcohol intake to maybe one night per weekend, so you’re not drinking so many empty calories.
- Don’t stress too much about gaining weight. Weight fluctuates so much it’s crazy. You’re weight shouldn’t be something to stress about or to focus on too much. If you’re being active and eating healthy most of the time, then you’re doing a great job! If you feel great inside and outside, that’s all that matters.
Have fun during college, but stay healthy. It’s the best of both worlds! Hope these tips helped and feel free to comment your own tips.