A Productive and Healthy Schedule

Posted by in Health and Safety

Although it’s easy to get caught up in school work and your social live, living a healthy and fit lifestyle isn’t something to throw to the side. Staying healthy involves more than just being fit and exercising properly. Simple choices made throughout the day help keep you healthy as well.

Keeping a weekly schedule of all your classes and other responsibilities is a great way to ensure that you won’t fall behind on anything. I like to track out my week from 8am – 5pm on a chart or calendar, filling in my class schedule and leaving blanks in free time. Then on Sundays, I print out a blank copy to fill in for my week ahead. A typical college student’s schedule is usually a pretty wacky one, like a random 5 hour gap in between 2 classes for example, so it pays in more ways than one to stay organized.

Now what can be done in those kinds of gaps to stay productive and healthy? Well there are plenty of things to do on campus that don’t involve going to the dorms and napping or FIFA (a soccer video game). The student rec center can be the best place to eat up time and stay in shape. Most university rec centers offer aquatics, intermural sports, club sports, as well as fitness and adventure opportunities. And for those that want to learn a new sport or activity, the university offers different sports classes not affiliated with your GPA.

If the gym isn’t your scene, most universities have an adventure center. Here is a link to East Carolina’s Recreation and Wellness website where all available classes are listed: (http://www.ecu.edu/crw/). This is also where students can go and rent the equipment needed to go camping, kayaking, backpacking, and more. If none of these activities are enticing, bikes are always available to rent for the semester. Riding a bike is a simple and fun way to get around while secretly working out at the same time.

Exercising is an important key to staying fit when paired up with one other thing: how we eat. It’s a fact, “you are what you eat.” It is not imperative to change your whole diet, but if possible, substitute fruit or something light in place of fat and sugar filled foods. It is also best to avoid stimulants such as caffeine and coffee. These stimulants can easily throw off a set sleep schedule. Having a crazy college schedule can make it harder to keep a healthy diet and at a decent hour. But I want to emphasize eating healthy doesn’t mean becoming a vegetarian. Simply try to make all three meals of the day balanced. Make sure to eat reasonable serving sizes and never gorge yourself. My mom always said a colorful plate meant an abundance of food groups. One trick I’ve learned is when grocery shopping, remain on the outskirts of the store. This is where the meats, vegetables, dairy, and basic food groups are located. The inside shelves of a grocery store are mostly processed foods that can be left on the shelves for long periods of time. Not to mention that boxed goods cost a pretty penny extra.

Finally after a long, studious, exercise-filled day, you need a good night’s sleep. It’s no secret that people feel better after getting quality sleep. It is hard to do this every night, yet always shoot for that 8 hours and keep a steady Circadian Rhythm. For those that don’t know, Our Circadian Rhythm is our internal clock that changes through a 24-hour cycle in response to light and darkness. This is why humans get tired and wake up on a set routine.

So as you can probably guess, sleep plays a major role in keeping good health. Our bodies repair and grow while we are asleep; denying our bodies sleep can greatly take a toll on the immune system. That being said, no all-nighters!! It might seem good in theory to stay up all night and study for an exam, yet the body would do better with rest than stress. A steady sleep schedule can make all the difference in energy and restfulness. Nothing good happens after 2am anyway.

So just because you’re in college now doesn’t mean you should let your health slide. Not only will you feel better, but your body will be better equipped to handle everything you do in your crazy college life.