The life of a college student is busy and stressful, and that means your diet and exercise schedule are often left out in the cold. Whether you are just starting out as an undergrad or are already a graduate or professional student, knowing how to stay healthy on WSU campus is no small feat. Luckily, you have a number of resources right here on campus to help prepare you for the year ahead.
Here are five easy tips to help you stay healthy and feeling good:
1. Get your shut-eye
Over half of college students report that sleep difficulties affect their school performance. Half of the people reading this may not be getting enough sleep to function properly and excel in their classes. Half!
To help with this, set a regular sleep schedule: Go bed and wake up at around the same time every day. And avoid using caffeine to make up for inadequate sleep; instead, drink more water, eat healthy foods, and take short naps.
2. Eat to learn and get moving
Only 6% of college students report eating the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Less than 50% of college students report getting in thirty minutes of moderate exercise at least three days per week. You could start seeing yourself performing better simply by fueling your body properly and going for a thirty minute walk a few times a week. You’ll be setting yourself up for success!
Eat more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods. Begin each meal with a large salad or an apple. Make water your beverage of choice; drink more water, and less soda, energy drinks, and juices. Fit in exercise wherever you can—take the stairs, park farther away, or walk the longer route to class.
Take advantage of the Mort Harris Recreation and Fitness Center that you pay for in your registration fees—they have excellent gym equipment and a variety of free fitness classes. This resource is completely free to you! And the Campus Health Center has a registered dietician to help with proper nutrition and weight management.
Last but not least, check out some of WSU’s healthier eating options on campus, such as Gold ‘n’ Greens, Subway, and La Pita Fresh, to name just a few. There are plenty of ways to incorporate a better diet and exercise on a student budget at WSU!
3. Manage stress
A staggering 75% of college students report high levels of stress; 43% of these students report that stress negatively affects their performance in school. It is easy to be overwhelmed and stressed out when you are juggling school, living on your own, and, often, part-time jobs and internships.
To combat this, check out stress-reduction apps like “Breathe2Relax” and “Take a Break,” and create a support system of family, friends, and/or campus staff to reach out for a listening ear. Call Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) if you are concerned about managing your stress level, or contact the Academic Success Center for help with study skills and to find info on time management seminars. WSU has a ton of great resources to help get a handle on your stress and anxiety!
4. Take care of your sexual health
Adolescents and young adults have the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) of any other population. And that isn’t necessarily because you are the most sexually active; it is also because safe sex is not always on the forefront of your minds. But it should be!
If you are sexually active, please remember to:
- Limit the number of sexual partners you have.
- Use condoms. Every. Single. Time.
- Join the Campus Health Center’s Condom Club ($5 for 50 condoms!).
- Get yourself tested: Whether you utilize the STI and HIV testing services (free if you are uninsured and under the age of 24 from the Campus Health Center or visit your health-care provider, getting tested is a big step toward managing your sexual health.
5. Get up-to-date (on your vaccinations, that is)
Immunizations are not just for babies and kids. Recent years have seen multiple outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases on college campuses: Mumps at Ohio State, meningitis at Princeton and the University of California, Santa Barbara are just a few recent outbreaks that have caused serious health problems and even death among college students.
Do not let a preventable disease get you down; ensure that your vaccinations are up-to-date.