8 back-to-school basics for avoiding the ‘freshman 15’
Published: Monday, August 27, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 12:08
Not gaining the “freshman 15” is safely said to be a goal held by the majority of incoming college freshman. Too often, physical fitness solely defines the meaning of “health” in the minds of incoming college students, when in fact there are a wide variety of aspects involved in maintaining a healthy lifestyle in college.
Be physical. Beginning with the most obvious, maintaining physical fitness is an important part of building a healthy lifestyle. Most institutions provide an assortment of opportunities geared toward promoting exercise. Organize an intramural sports team, join a group exercise class, form a personal fitness plan or take the stairs to your room or classrooms -- there are many different ways to fit physical fitness into your daily routine.
Schedule sleep. Oftentimes, sleep is taken for granted by college students, which might in turn hinder performance in other areas of life, such as physical and academic fitness. According to the National Sleep Foundation, college students or young adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. With full schedules including classes, part-time jobs, club meetings, social gatherings, volunteer activities and homework, sleep gets the last slot on the list of priorities. However, giving your body and mind an adequate amount of sleep will boost your success in each of those areas previously mentioned.
Stay studious. College is a place specifically fashioned to give high school graduates an opportunity to further their educations. However, college is often referred to as “the best time of your life” and academics are set aside to make room for socializing. Although it may be difficult, balancing a social life with school and work is an extremely important part of being a healthy student, and the sooner you figure out how to do so by trial and error, the more enjoyable your future college years will be.
Acknowledge anxiety. Stress is nothing to dismiss. Try to manage it by setting appropriate priorities, getting plenty of sleep, and talking to someone at the Counseling Center on campus if you feel overstressed or overwhelmed at any point in your time at school. You can find additional information by visiting the Counseling Center’s website: http://www.ndsu.edu/counseling/personal_counseling/.
Plan meals. With the foreboding “freshman 15” looming over many new college students, planning healthy and regular meals is a great method of combat against putting on those extra pounds. Eat breakfast, as it is said by doctors on WebMD.com to enhance learning and even help with weight loss. Fuel your mind and body with a small healthy lunch, and finish your day by eating a filling, health-promoting meal.
Budget wisely. Being financially healthy can be difficult after gaining such a significant amount of independence upon arriving at college. Keep track of your spending and earning, and budget your money by allowing yourself to only spend so much of your earnings. Look for coupons, search for deals on groceries, attend the cheap theater and seek out the “free” or low-cost activities on and off campus.
Get social. Make acquaintances, make friends and make connections. Interacting with peers will help keep you sane when trying to deal with busy school schedules or work or other relationships. Communicating on a more personal level with professors and advisors will begin to weave your networking web and will help you obtain credible references and recommendations during future career searches.
Live safely. Last but not least: safety. Familiarize yourself with the locations of hospitals or clinics in the area, memorize the phone number of campus police, use the buddy system, know the risks associated with alcohol intake or driving under the influence, take a self-defense class, learn CPR and always be prepared for emergency situations to arise. Look both ways before you cross the street, and enjoy the road through college by keeping yourself wholly healthy.