Monday, August 18, 2014

College Survival Series: The "Freshman 15"

The College Survival Series introduces and discusses different aspects of college life, and aims to prepare college students for all situations they might encounter during their college career.

The "Freshman 15"

Ahh, the dreaded "Freshman 15". You may have heard of this legend before heading off to college, and have been told to beware. The not-so-mythical "Freshman 15" refers to the notion that first year students tend to forget to take care of their physical health when they first walk into their first semester and may gain a little weight because of it. (For anyone wondering, this norm used to be called the "Freshman 5" not too long ago... yikes!) Though it's not a guarantee that college will completely transform your body, there are a lot of temptations in the form of late-night take out, alcohol, and weekend-long video game sessions with your roommate that can really distract you from taking care of your physical fitness. Here are a few tips to help you keep your health in mind during your hectic first few weeks!

Eat/drink the healthy stuff first. Really craving that pizza and unlimited supply of fries at the dining hall? That's fine, but grab a salad, too, and make sure you eat the salad first. When you do this, you'll fill your body with something healthy first, leaving less room for the yummy junk food. Do the same thing with drinks as well - grab a glass of water with your soda and drink the water first. You'll hydrate your body before drinking all of that sugar, and you may even not feel the need to drink your soda after you drink a full glass of water!

Get outside. When you're outside, you're more likely to exercise in ways you don't realize is exercise. Walking, climbing stairs, and even playing on the swings at your local playground all get your body moving and blood pumping, all while secretly burning calories. You don't need a gym membership to work out! (The fresh air also does wonders for your energy and mood!)

Look into your campus's fitness options. Almost every college campus has a fitness center of some sort, as well as open gym hours, intramural sports, and fitness classes, all of which are typically free with your student ID. If you're interested in this route for exercise, head over to your school's recreation department and look into your options and find out what's good for you!

Be conscious of what you're drinking. It is super easy to drink your calories, and this is usually where college students (and people in general) gain most of their weight. Sugar-filled coffee drinks, soda, bottled juice, and alcohol (yes, there is sugar in alcohol) are all culprits of rapid weight gain. It's okay to drink these in moderation, but remember to balance these liquid treats with lots of water throughout the day!

Make sure you're getting a good amount of sleep. Your body recharges in your sleep, and not getting enough will start to manifest on your body over time. Without the right amount of sleep, you'll be more tired, depriving you of exercise motivation and the conscious ability to make healthy nutritional choices. A lack of sleep can also lead you to illness as well, which will completely knock you off your game! Though the occasional all-nighter needs to be pulled when schoolwork gets hectic, make sure you're getting a solid amount of sleep as often as you can!

Make sure that you also out this post about staying healthy with a busy schedule!

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