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As students settle into their new lives on college campus, it is important to make healthy habits a priority to stay mentally and physically sharp.  Too often, other responsibilities take precedence in our daily lives which may ultimately lead to an unhealthy future.  Here are a few simple healthy habits to begin now:

Stay Active

Exercise not only changes your body, it changes your attitude.  This does not mean you need to spend hours in the gym, there are ways you can fit physical activity into your daily life.  Whether it be by walking to class instead of driving, using the stairs instead of elevator, or signing up for a recreational sports team with friends, you can be more active today.   Exercise helps control weight, can improve your mood, gives you a boost of energy, and promotes better sleep.

Sleep

Sleep is an integral part of staying healthy.  According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, one of the best ways to maximize academic performance on exams (aside from studying) is to get a good night of sleep.  Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep to feel fully alert and work at peak performance.   It is helpful to create a bedtime routine and go to sleep around the same time each night if possible.  To avoid insomnia, keep your work space separate from your sleep space. 

Nutrition

Pay attention to what you put into your body or else you might gain the freshman 15 without even realizing it.  Learn how to properly nourish your body while you are young – food is fuel, not a reward system.  A balanced meal includes: carbohydrates for energy, protein for muscle growth and repair, and vegetables for a healthy metabolism.  Make wise choices at the cafeteria and eat breakfast daily.

Stay Hydrated

The human body is made up of 60% water, therefore staying hydrated is crucial.  Benefits of drinking water include: better digestion, more energy, healthy skin, prevent headaches, high metabolism, healthy heart, weight loss, and more!  Bring a water bottle with you to class you can stay hydrated on the go.

Relax

The stresses of colleges may cause some students to experience irritability, fatigue, sleep problems, restlessness and more.  Remember to take a deep breath and try to relax.  Learning how to manage your stress is an important step in becoming an adult.  If you feel you need additional help coping with stress, do not be afraid or ashamed to contact your school’s guidance office.