The college years are infamous for their potential to utterly destroy a student’s physical health. Late nights partying, all-nighters studying, too much ramen, too little exercise and excessive alcohol consumption can all contribute to poor student health. Extreme stress can wear a student down physically as well. College is a four-year (or more) combat zone for the body, but health savvy students can still come out on top.
One of the easiest, most common ways to damage your body in college is with unhealthy eating habits. The “freshman 15,” the weight students usually gain their first year in college, often results from unhealthy cafeteria food and excessive snacking. It is difficult to escape the cafeteria, but students can find healthier options (like sandwiches and vegetables) than the daily offering of corn dogs and casserole mush. Limit snacking while studying — you can get carried away eating as you concentrate on the task at hand (or if you are just easily distracted by food, these distractions can become more and more frequent.) Find healthier snacks than just the Snickers and Dr. Pepper from the vending machine.
In college good dental hygiene is sometimes overlooked, and students sometimes skip brushing or flossing in the rush to get to class or while concentrating on studying late at night. Plaque then sits on their teeth for long periods of time and can cause tooth decay, not to mention bad breath! Brushing and flossing your teeth only takes a few minutes. You may have to skip checking Facebook in the morning before classes in order to make time for good oral hygiene, but not to worry. You can check it when you get to class.
The gym may be all the way across campus, and you may not have very much free time to devote to physical fitness, but exercise is an important part of staying in good health throughout college. Not only does working out help combat the effects of cafeteria food, it also helps you stay alert and gives you more energy. Often, the excessive tiredness students feel is largely due to inactivity!
Slipping on flip-flops before running across campus to class is certainly convenient, but it could have serious repercussions on your joints, from your feet to your knees and beyond. Flip-flops are a college staple, but their lack of support can be damaging. Purchase some slip-on shoes with more support, and your feet and ankles will thank you.
Most college students roll their eyes when told to get more sleep, but an article in The Washington Post notes that the risks of cancer, obesity, diabetes and even heart disease increase with consistent lack of sleep. Severe lack of sleep, or even staying awake in the wee hours of the morning, throws the body’s physiological clock into disarray, causing imbalance in many other health areas as well.
Taking simple steps to protect your health during college can do more than just help you better enjoy your college years. These steps can help prevent more serious problems later in life.