The same advice given for staying healthy for the general population holds true for college students too. Getting plenty of sleep and exercise is important for maintaining good health. Eating a healthy diet is also key. The challenge for many college students is to handle new freedoms, while adjusting to the stress that accompanies college coursework and a new lifestyle. Below are some helpful tips for making the most of college years.
A Healthy Diet
Eating right is always important, but can be challenging in a new setting. Eating in a cafeteria means careful planning to ensure that you get three solid meals a day. Skipping breakfast can be tempting, particularly if you have an early class. Health experts agree that skipping breakfast is a bad idea and leads to a lack of concentration, or overeating later in the day.
In addition to regular meals, it is very important to eat well-balanced meals. Eating healthy snacks throughout the day will make it easier to resist the temptation to overeat or indulge in unhealthy food choices. Even pizza can be a good choice if you ask for vegetable toppings and whole wheat crust. Many pizza joints now offer pizza with no cheese or low-fat cheese. Protein should be eaten at every meal, along with complex carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables. The amount of protein should not exceed the size of a deck of cards.
Get a Flu Shot
Given the close quarters of most college dorms and classrooms, catching the flu is not too farfetched. A flu shot is highly recommended to prevent this highly communicable bug. Many college campuses offer a flu shot for $25 or less. Some campuses provide free flu shots. Considering how much time you’ll spend in bed suffering if you catch the flu, it is a prudent decision to get the shot and not risk coming down with the miserable symptoms that will likely keep you in bed for up to a week or longer.
Plenty of Rest
College life can be hazardous to getting a good night’s sleep. Considering all night cram sessions studying for important tests and the temptation to stay out until the wee hours of the morning to party with friends, college students must make sleep a priority. Most experts agree that an occasional late night is not going to cause any lasting damage. Lack of sleep does interfere with concentration and makes it hard to study or focus in class. Students should aim for seven to nine hours per night. If for some reason you don’t get a full night’s sleep on a particular night, a nap the next day is recommended.
College is known for being a very social environment and can lead to some dangerous behaviors. Binge drinking and underage drinking are problems for many college campuses. Overindulging and becoming intoxicated can lead to high risk behavior that puts students at higher risk for accidents and promiscuity. Drinking a glass of water between drinks is recommended to stay hydrated. When planning an evening out where drinking is likely, it is always a good idea to decide on a driver who promises not to drink, otherwise known as a designated driver.
College students need health insurance. Most colleges require students to have health insurance coverage as a condition for enrollment. It is important to consider the different options very carefully. Factors that should be considered when selecting coverage include whether you are attending a state school and how much traveling you will be involved in, whether parent’s coverage is compatible and cost versus benefits. Colleges often offer insurance plans to students. Reviewing several options is advisable, paying special attention to how well each prospective policy suits an individual’s specific situation.