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How to Stay Healthy During the First Year of College

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Posted on January 8, 2015 by Delaware Valley College.

As you begin your first year of college, you may find yourself getting into unhealthy habits that could hinder your academic performance and make you feel sleepy and sluggish. Eating right and exercising will help you excel in your classes, avoid illnesses and feel better overall.

Consider some of these tips to help you stay healthy throughout your first year of school.

• Join a collegiate or intramural sports team. If any of the sports teams at your college accepts walk-on athletes and you’ve been considering joining, this is a great opportunity to stay in shape, get involved with your college and make lifelong friends. Go to the athletic office to find out when tryouts are held. 

However, being part of a collegiate sports team is demanding and requires a lot of dedication, so if you’re not up for the challenge, an intramural team may be more your speed. Intramurals are less serious and are meant to provide students with exercise and fun. Find out what kind of intramural teams your college offers and sign up for one. 

• Join an active club. Many colleges offer active clubs such as kayaking, rock climbing and swimming that allow you to participate in an activity you’re passionate about while meeting other people. Being involved in an extracurricular activity such as a club will also make a great addition to your résumé. Clubs typically meet every week or every other week, with events and outings occurring on occasion. 

• Take advantage of the campus equipment. Your campus likely has a gym facility with quality equipment available for you to use. Determine a workout routine and exercise a few times per week. Your campus also probably has basketball courts, tennis courts, soccer fields and other resources you can use to play with your friends and stay in shape.

You’ll also benefit from using the campus itself to stay healthy. Opt to walk to class if possible rather than taking a shuttle or bus. Use the stairs instead of elevators. These simple adjustments to your day can help you burn many calories. 

• Eat healthfully. It’s easy to eat instant meals and sweets all day long, but instant meals are loaded with sodium and sweets are full of sugar that will only make you feel worse over time. If you go to the on-campus eating areas, be sure to choose meals that consist of lean meats, whole grains and vegetables. It’s fine to have the occasional cheeseburger with fries or slice of pizza, but make sure you do this in moderation.

If you cook at home, find out if there are any farmers’ markets in the area. Farmers’ markets have lots of fresh meats, fruits and vegetables that are reasonably priced so you can stock up and enjoy them for the week to come. 

Staying healthy is about eating right, exercising and enjoying unhealthy foods in moderation. Be sure to take advantage of all of the resources available to you to stay healthy during your first year of college.