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I’m sure many uni students (including myself) don’t like thinking about their eating and drinking habits, or their health for that matter. Your thoughts when I brought up the topic probably go something like this: I’m out of school now… I’m an adult so I can do what I like… I can drink now! Bring on the buckets!
But, after a trip to the doctor that didn’t end as positively as I expected, I realised that being healthy is still just as important as it always was, and that now was not the time to start slacking off in the health department. Still going strong in the assignment procrastination though…
I’m not saying you have to stop going to all those pub crawls or parties, but it might be time to take a look at yourself, your habits and ask yourself: What are some ways I can stay healthy while at uni?
With all the guilty pleasures such as frappes with cream, free alcohol at BBQs and convenience stores all around uni, it can be hard. But here are some ideas that can help you not feel so guilty when you decide to have extra caramel syrup in your latte. Exercising won’t always be as picturesque as the picture shows. But these tips will also help to stay healthy, as well as saving you money; uni students should always be thinking about that.
1. Take a serious look at your drinking.
This is the obvious one: Alcohol has a high sugar content, as well as slowing down your metabolism, which doesn’t help in the weight department.
So it might be time to think about alcohol. How often do you go out per week? How many drinks do you have? Do you pre-drink as well as drink when you go out?
Restricting the amount of drinks you have, as well as drinking water in between drinks will not only help you stay healthier in terms of weight and reducing your chances of alcohol poisoning, it will save you money.
Also, wearing nothing but a dress when it’s cold out, won’t burn off all the calories.
2. Find time to fit exercise into your timetable.
This can be difficult. For someone like me, with a pitiful 12 contact hours a week, I still find it hard to find time/motivation to exercise. So for people with 20+ contact hours a week, it is most likely a serious chore.
But it doesn’t have to be a chore. Go for a walk with your readings. Take a study break by going for a jog rather than having a packet of chips and watching a movie. Set your alarm just those 10 minutes earlier so you can go for a quick jog around the block.
Finding motivation will be hard. But if you set a routine, stick to it and think about how much fitter you’ll look come summer, you’ll find the motivation, and the time.
3. Find ways to incorporate exercise into your life.
Do you have a bike and feel safe riding it to uni? Can you walk to uni instead of public transport or driving? Can you walk to the station instead of driving?
Uni’s are trying to incorporate healthy, sustainable living into students’ lifestyle. So use the resources. Think about how much money you could save if you stopped driving it will help you find the time to walk to the station, bus or tram stop.
Incorporating exercise into your life will make you feel better and you’ll be saving money. Just remember to check the weather before you leave and you’ll be just fine.
4. Join a gym/health class/sporting team
Gyms are expensive and I’m too much of a cheapskate to join one. You’ve probably realised that. But if you’re willing to pay they are a great option. Not only can you use all the fancy equipment and be in a nice, temperature controlled room, they have personal trainers and information to help you with your body and health. Support can be great when on a health regime. Also, you’ll be paying for it, so you’ll probably want to go and get your money’s worth.
If gyms are a bit out of pocket, joining a class like yoga, pilates, martial arts, tennis, running club or any other kind of sport class can be a slightly cheaper alternative. You can meet new people to talk to about how much you hate uni right now, and exercise at the same time. Much more productive.
Same with sports teams. Uni’s often have social sport teams that can be a cheap and easy way to get exercise. I play social Netball at my uni and it’s great seeing how my team has improved, and I also have the motivation to go and play, even though I am about as graceful as a whale when it comes to playing. I would definitely recommend checking social sport out.
5. Pack food
I have the great advantage of not having many contact hours and living relatively close to home so I can just go home to eat. But if you find yourself at uni all day and always heading to the food hall to grab chips, pizza or fried rice, it might be time to start bringing healthier food to uni every day or second day. Bringing fruit or rice crackers or carrot sticks might seem not as exciting or tasty. But when you’re able to afford and fit into that top you wanted, you’ll most likely feel better about eating rabbit food.
6. Stop drinking coffees.
One of my friends doing science told me that you actually get more energy from eating an apple than you do from coffee. Don’t get me wrong, coffee can have great benefits. But vanilla lattes with extra vanilla syrup, full cream milk and sprinkles on top, isn’t always necessary.
Next time you’re in need of a coffee, ask for skinny milk. Ask yourself if you need whipped cream on top of your frappe. Ask yourself whether you need coffee at all. Not buying coffee everyday will save you even money (finding a theme here?), and will help you keep those extra few calories off.
Getting motivation is hard, especially now because it’s still a bit too cold to function effectively outside. But summer is coming, and neglecting your health is not the way to go during uni. Finding ways to live a healthier lifestyle may not only help your uni grades, but it can help you meet new people and have a healthier, longer life.
It will also save you money. Just remember that.