Work. School. Sleep. Repeat. For students in today’s society that is our daily routines. Between commuting to school or work and actually working on assignments, the average student neglects their general health, putting physical activity and healthy eating on the back burner. For the average student it is hard to juggle all these things, and when it comes down to it, health suffers since you are not technically getting a grade or paid to do it for that matter. The Harvard School of Public Health has conducted many surveys and have found that physical activity not only lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes, strokes etc., but also improves academic standings and stress levels. Add in eating high-quality foods and you are on your way to a long, happy and healthy life!
Many people often think that 1 hour a day must be dedicated in order to be active and healthy. Although that would be ideal, that is simply not a realistic goal for students who have a full course load and generally a part-time job. I have come up with 5 quick and easy tips that will push you into the right direction towards a healthier and happier you.
1. START YOUR MORNING OFF RIGHT
Before work/school wake up about 15 minutes earlier and start with a 15 minute workout. This will include a 1 minute stretch to get the blood flowing and a 2 minute jog on the spot as a warm up. The circuit will continue with 20 jumping jacks, 20 squats, 20 bicep curls (with 5-15 pound weights dependent on preference), 20 sitting tucks (for abs) and a 1 minute plank. Repeat the circuit 2 more times and end with a nice 2 minute stretch to bring the heart rate back to a rest position. This is a full body workout in only 15 minutes!
2. FEED YOUR BRAIN & BODY WITH THE GOOD STUFF
After your quick workout and a warm shower, your body deserves a hardy breakfast that will keep you fueled until lunchtime. Some great choices to start the morning off are: homemade oatmeal (not those Quaker packages filled with sugar and preservatives), one or 2 hard-boiled eggs, whole wheat toast with your choice of spread, a parfait made with 1% yogurt and fresh seasonal fruit, any low sugar and high fiber cereal. These are just a few of my favourites but just make sure to have something that is high in protein and that is actually good for you.
3. HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE
Water is the best thing for your body. Keep your body hydrated with at least 3-5 glasses of water and you will not only notice that you feel better, but you will notice it in your skin and hair as well. The water fountains at school are FREE so NO excuses!
4. EVERY MEAL COUNTS
Never skip a meal. We have 3 meals for a reason. Missing a meal will make you feel tired and will affect your attention span and agitation levels. Even if you’re in a rush, make an effort to avoid that stop at McDonalds or even Tim Hortons. Take care of your body and make a quick salad or go to your local grocery store and buy a ready-made salad if you’re really running late. Make a tuna fish salad sandwich or even an egg salad sandwich and pair it with some carrots or celery or even an apple. As for dinner, there are so many choices. Make it pasta night, or steak and potatoes with green beans, or whole chicken on a bed of rice. Be creative and don’t obsess so much on the calories or carbs. Just make sure to get enough of every food group in each of your 3 meals.
5. EVERYTHING IN MODERATION
Don’t drive yourself crazy on counting calories. I truly stand by the motto of: “everything in moderation”. Don’t starve yourself or go on any crazy diets. Eat everything (within reason) that you want but don’t overdo it. We are human beings and we deserve treats every once in a while. Completely eliminating certain things out of our diets (that aren’t allergy related) is simply unrealistic and only makes us crave it more. Know yourself and your limits and you will notice a big difference in the long term.
These 5 steps were created in order to help anyone who feels like there is not enough time in the day to live a healthy lifestyle, especially for students. Although these are just a few steps, they will help you slowly push yourself to make more time and to become more conscious of what you are feeding your body. Remember that none of this is supposed to be easy and it will take a while before you become accustomed to this type of lifestyle. But in the end, it will be well worth it! Don’t be too busy for your body.