Maintaining Health and Fitness While You’re in College

Feb 12, 2014
  |  by Jennifer Cook

The schedule of a college student can be quite hectic.  For those balancing school, work and a family, it may be slightly agonizing.  The question is: how can a busy student stay fit and healthy while maintaining a balance between school and all of life’s other responsibilities?  Well, as it turns out, there’s an app for that!  While an app won’t do all of the work for you, there are many ways to keep college students healthy while still maintaining a manageable schedule.

Be Mindful of What You Eat

Staying healthy doesn’t only mean exercising several days a week, it also means eating the right foods.  Making healthy choices is paramount when trying to keep those dreaded inches off the waistline, especially when a busy schedule may not allow time for adequate exercise.

Luckily, there are foods that benefit both the mind and body.  Dark chocolate gives natural energy and fish is packed with Omega 3’s that are superb for brain health.  Eating nutritious foods is an imperative step to staying fit and healthy.

It is all too easy to eat breakfast on the go.  By doing this, we are neglecting the most important meal of the day.  Breakfast kick starts the body’s metabolism and provides much needed energy to busy students.  Eating at regular intervals throughout the day also prevents a drop in metabolic activity and keeps you from becoming lethargic or falling into the common afternoon lull.

Have a Healthy Mindset

To stay healthy, it’s important to think healthy.  One should be conscious of all choices they make and how they could affect their health.  This includes making an effort to manage stress.  Stress can increase levels of cortisol in the body, which has been linked to the retention of fat on the stomach. 

Find Fitness in Unexpected Places

Instead of eating on the go, try exercising on the go instead!  Side-bends or squats can be done in an elevator, or better yet, choose to take the stairs.  Doing push-ups while watching television or tricep dips on the couch is a good way to build upper-body strength and burn calories.  Spend the commute contracting abdominal muscles in the car.  Choose a parking spot just a little further away to squeeze in extra walking.  There are endless ways to incorporate fitness into a daily routine that don’t require the gym.

Break up Workouts

When short on time, try dividing a traditional workout in two.  Cardio can be done in the morning and weightlifting could be after school or work.  Dancing along to a home Zumba video is a great substitute for a trip to the gym.  After all, “the only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen.” 

Apps can Help

Most unfortunately, an app will not prepare a nutritious meal or do lunges for you, but there are apps to help manage and track one’s fitness endeavors.  Fitocracy is a free app that makes fitness social.  It shares statistics that can be turned into a competition with friends.  Users can post fitness-related status updates, receive support from others and have access to fitness resources as well.  It’s an excellent way to increase motivation and inspire new ideas on how to stay in shape.  My Fitness Pal tracks caloric intake to help those wanting to lose or manage their weight.  Apps provide a wonderful way to track progress and shed light on areas where modifications could be made.

Staying fit, in spite of a chaotic schedule, isn’t impossible.  All it takes is a little organization, a plan and healthy choices.   


Author bio: Jennifer Cook writes about online education, learning trends and student life for Strayer.edu. She loves it when teachers connect with students online, and she’s scrubbed her social profiles clean, just in case Big Brother is watching.

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