**Note: the following advice and suggestions come purely from the writer’s personal experience as a four year college student. The writer is not a paid health professional or employee of any health-related organization and does not have a degree specializing in any health related field. As any college student knows, a long day spent attending classes all over campus can make for a physically exhausting experience. These days, however, it seems colleges and universities across the nation are bending over backwards to accommodate student transportation needs and, in the process, encouraging lazy and slothful lifestyles. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to stay healthy on campus and even get a little exercise.
1. Avoid Taking Campus Transportation (Buses, Tran Systems, Shuttles, etc.) whenever Possible; Walk or Jog Instead
This should be the first rule for any health and fitness-conscious college student. If you are able to walk from class to class, building to building, without the use of campus transportation vehicles, you should do so. For decades, aerobic research has shown walking to control blood pressure and even reduce the risk of heart attack. The 20-Year Nurses’ Health Study of over 72,000 female nurses found that walking a mere three hours a week is associated with a 30% to 40% lower risk of heart disease in women. Additionally, any form of walking is an immediate catalyst for potential weight loss and weight control in both men and women.
If you are not loaded down a heavy backpack, satchel or laptop case, you can even jog to your next class or building. Obviously, walking or jogging anywhere outdoors on campus will depend on the weather conditions. If you find yourself face-to-face with rain or any form of severe weather, boarding a campus shuttle may be the smarter choice.
2. Make Healthy Eating Choices in Campus Diners, Cafeterias & Restaurants
Many of today’s large colleges and universities are laden with fast food joints and/or diners that serve starchy, greasy food high in fat and cholesterol. However, many of these establishments also serve healthier choices, including a variety of fruits, salads, vegetables and non-carbonated drinks. If you must eat on campus, do so wisely. If possible, pack a healthy lunch at home and bring it with you.
3. Take the Stairs Instead of the Elevator
With comfort and luxury at the forefront of college design plans and schematics, the majority of today’s multi-story campus buildings contain elevators. Countless students now avoid taking the stairs altogether. However, if fitness, exercise and staying in shape are priorities throughout your day, you should view the elevator as a catalyst for lazy habits. If your class is on the second or third floor, take the opportunity to walk or jog up a few flights of stairs. This is an excellent aerobic exercise that will keep you physically energized and mentally alert throughout your class.
4. Visit your Campus Recreation Center and/or Gym in-between Classes
This should be a no brainer. Unfortunately, too many students pass up the opportunity to work out and exercise in a gym that requires no membership. Remember that your tuition is covering the costs associated with the campus recreation center/gym. So why not take advantage of it? If your daily class schedule contains a lengthy break in-between classes, swing by the gym and spend an hour or two on the elliptical, run a few laps around the indoor track or jog a mile on a treadmill. Be sure you pack a change of clothes to avoid arriving at your next class drenched in sweat.
If you enjoy playing a particular sport or engaging in a specific aerobic activity, look into areas of your campus that may cater to your interests: tennis and basketball courts, indoor swimming pools, etc. are all excellent places to have fun and exercise at the same time. Even a competitive game of Ultimate Frisbee on the front lawn of campus can make for an enjoyable and healthy afternoon. Remember that you alone are responsible for your physical health and fitness lifestyle. As a busy, hardworking college student, it can certainly be difficult to find time to engage in routine exercises and workouts. However, with a little discipline and some of the aforementioned suggestions and advice, it is certainly not impossible. Try some of these tips and have a healthy day at school!