Student life is renowned for being the best years of your life, but it also has the potential to be the unhealthiest.
With the endless parties, late night study sessions and hungover lectures, it’s easy to fall into the student stereotype of ready meals, pizza and noodles. But you can enjoy university and stay healthy, which benefits both your physical health and your mental health. Ensuring you’re eating right, sleeping well and moving your body will help you feel energised, motivated and productive.
Here are our top tips for staying healthy at university:
Start your day on the right track
This will come as no surprise, but starting your day well will keep you motivated all day. Set your alarm for the morning and try to stick to this time every day. Get up, have a fresh glass of water and eat a nutritious breakfast.
Choose porridge, a smoothie or eggs with avocado on toast. This will keep you fuller for longer, and provide you with plenty of energy, ready to tackle your latest assignment. If you’re a morning person anyway, maybe wake up 30 minutes earlier and go for a run, or do a quick workout (more to come on that later!).
Eat the rainbow
The food we eat has a massive influence on the way we feel. After a big night out, you’re probably going to be tempted with greasy food, biscuits and crisps, not to mention a big coffee. Instead, make a conscious effort to eat fruit, vegetables and complex carbohydrates, like oats and sweet potato. You’ll feel better and in the long run, be a lot more focused than many of your peers and impress your professors.
From our own experience, we understand that the weekly food shop is one that can be quite expensive when living off your student loan. But there are ways to save money and eat well as a student. Foods like oats, sweet potato, brown rice and whole wheat pasta can be very cheap if you buy the own-brand products (Asda 1kg Porridge Oats are 75p) or buy in bulk and keep the box under your bed! When it comes to veggies, if you can, buy frozen. They’re often much cheaper and will last you longer.
Stay active (at-home workouts anyone?)
When you’re buried under books, essays and research, it’s easy to move only for food and toilet breaks. We know that sitting for hours on end can be bad for our health, weakening muscles and promoting poor posture, so try to schedule times when you get your body moving.
Take an hour or two out for lunch and go for a walk with friends, go to the gym after lectures or if you can’t afford a gym membership, research some at-home workouts. Get your friends involved and make it enjoyable! You’ll be laughing, relieving stress and moving your body.
Choose your drink wisely
Alcohol is a big part of student culture and while it’s not good for your health, we know it plays a large part in your university social life. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a couple of drinks, but if you’re looking to make healthier choices, choose wisely (and of course, drink responsibly)! Instead of sugar-filled cocktails and fizzy mixers, stick to pure spirits, like vodka, soda and lime.
Remember to sleep!
Sleep is something that is so vital for our health, but often gets pushed aside when you’re a student. The late nights and large workload can have a big impact on your stress levels, so it’s important to take regular breaks – an hour or two from studying, or even a couple of days back home to rest. When stressed, your body gets put under a lot of pressure, which makes you more at risk to physical illness, fatigue and mental health problems.
You may feel like you need to work to the point of exhaustion to prove you’re hard-working, but in reality, this will have a negative effect on your health and your work. Make time to relax every day and aim to get at least seven hours of sleep each night.
What are your tips for staying healthy at university? Let us know in the comments below!