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Fitting Fitness and Healthy Habits Into Your Life as a College Student

October 12, 2020

For most college students, the years spent in the classroom are formative in the development of a successful academic and professional career. Likewise, these four plus years can equally impact the establishment of a healthier lifestyle transitioning into adulthood.

Working towards the completion of a degree is an intense and often stressful process. This can present a challenge in the establishment of building healthier habits. Balancing the task of thriving inside and outside of the classroom can feel daunting. Integrating steps into your daily routine will allow you to lay the groundwork of understanding your health and wellness and set the stage for years to come.

Hallie Burke, Lead Personal Trainer, shares four tips with you to begin setting healthier habits.

TIME BLOCKING

Evaluate the hours you have in the day and what you are spending them on. There is time, if you make it! Think of them as tokens you are putting into a slot machine, precious objects that can increase or decrease the value in your life. The hour you spend watching Netflix could instead go towards the gym, going on a walk, practicing mediation or a learning a new skill – the options are endless. Stay organized through a journal or planner and prepare your days ahead of time. Likewise, if you accomplish the task you need done for each day, you may find it more rewarding to unwind with an episode of your favorite show each night. Keep yourself accountable throughout the day, with a small checklist for example, and you will quickly realize there is time even if it is just a small amount.

SETTING REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

Pause and self-reflect: what are you realistically capable of doing right now? Avoid setting extreme goals that will set you up for failure and may ultimately lead to giving up. We must create sustainable habits that we are able to build upon throughout our entire lives. When we start with the steppingstones of small victories, the larger goal at hand will become easier to tackle and more attainable. Examples of smaller milestones to set include: Setting a daily step goal, preparing a healthy meal in advance, going to the gym two to three times per week, etc.

WATER INTAKE

It is no secret drinking water is extremely important for your health. Ensuring you have an adequate water intake is crucial for a variety of reasons. Especially as a college student, with the combined level of activity from walking around campus all day and commonly frequent caffeine intake (caffeine dehydrates the body) it is critical you are staying hydrated. According to Mayo Clinic, suggested water intake is about “15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men and About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women”. Meeting this daily minimum helps regulate digestion (water retention, bloating), energy levels, gym/daily performance and your overall health. Carrying a large water bottle with ounce measurements in your backpack to fill up throughout the day is an easy way to ensure you are consistently staying hydrated throughout the day and meeting intake requirements!

MANAGING YOUR STRESS AND REST

When you are properly rested, not only will it be easier to perform in the classroom, but it will make daily life much more enjoyable. Reverting back to time management, regulating a sleep schedule is equally as important. Your body adapts to the stimulus you place upon it, so getting into the routine of going to bed at a similar time each night and getting consistent hours of rest is a recovery stimulus your body will use to maximize your performance in the hours you are awake. Likewise, giving yourself blocked hours of the day to study, complete assignments, etc. and recognizing when to stop for the day compartmentalizes the stressors within your life each day. There is only so much that can be accomplished in one day and it is important to recognize your ability to perform well, and when to rest.

There is no denying that college can be mentally and physically taxing, but the four plus years spent in-between childhood and adulthood are primed for you to build maintainable physical and mental habits. Taking it one day at a time and the utilization of these building blocks are sure to open a floodgate of opportunity.

Hallie Burke, Lead Personal Trainer, ACE CPT

Looking for more education or accountability when it comes to setting and achieving your fitness goals? Register to attend one of our FREE Fitness Lecture Series or visit our Personal Training page to learn more about in-person and virtual services!