Staying fit in college is easier than you think

By Sara Butler

No matter your major, schedule or extracurricular involvements, most of us can agree on one thing: college is stressful. With the craziness of classes, clubs and jobs, sometimes health is the last thing on our minds. However, staying healthy is important to be successful in college.

The basics for staying healthy are programmed into many of us at a young age, but how does that apply to college life? The basics of eating well, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep are easier to follow at USD than one might believe.

For eating well on campus, sophomore Julia Sherwood, a new member of the women’s soccer team, shares her insight and healthy tips.

“USD provides me with vast resources to help foster an active and healthy life. As a member of the soccer team, I make the most out of the extensive variety of foods at the Student Life Pavilion by eating lean meats with smart sides such as salad, fruit or rice,” Sherwood said. “Also, staying hydrated is key, so I always have water with me when headed to class or practice. With all of the dining services on campus, making healthy choices as a busy student athlete has never been easier.”

Make sure not to skip breakfast on the late mornings when you do not have time to wait in the long line at Aroma’s. According to Huffington Post, skipping breakfast can lead to more overeating throughout the day.

Although your body may be craving it, avoid carbohydrates and sugars that you think you may want when you are tired. A chocolate croissant for breakfast may seem like a good idea at the time, but it does not fuel your body for the day ahead. Instead, keep quick snacks in your dorm or apartment for mornings like this, such as fruit or granola bars. You can stock up on breakfast essentials in Tu Mercado or the local grocery stores, or grab an extra banana or orange at the SLP during dinner the night before.

When it comes to exercise, take advantage of our two gyms on campus, Mission Fitness Center and Jenny Craig Pavilion. Membership is free, and a quick visit is a good way to stay in shape and see new or familiar faces.

If you can’t make it to the gym, try walking to class. Walking from your dorm or apartment gets your heart rate up and helps your metabolism. Next time you think about taking the tram, resist the temptation and hit the ground running. If you are feeling daring, try taking the stairs instead of the ramps and elevators; double points if they are the stairs from the Valley.
Another fun way to incorporate exercise into your day is by joining a club or intramural sport, which is a great way to get fit while meeting friends. Our university offers a diverse selection of club and intramural sports on campus, including creative options such as inner tube water polo.

If team sports aren’t your thing, our school offers many fitness and recreation classes, such as dance, spinning, yoga and kickboxing. Many of these classes offer for-credit options for students to earn an extra unit, which you can sign up for online.

The last important way to stay healthy is easy: sleep. According to The New York Times, college students are some of the most sleep-deprived out of all age groups. While college students need between seven to nine hours a night, late nights of studying or socializing can keep this from happening.

One way to get more sleep is to try planning your class schedule around your habits. There’s no point in taking that 8 a.m. or 8 p.m. class if you know you are just going to sleep through it. Make sure you get enough hours of sleep each night to feel refreshed and ready for the next day.

With the stress of paper deadlines, club tryouts and job interviews, sometimes college seems overwhelming. Make sure to always take time to relax and wind down at the end of each day to relieve your stress. Schedule out the day to leave some time for your mind to take a break. Mental health is directly dependent on physical health, and should not be ignored.

So there you have it: the key to health in college is as simple as eat, run, sleep. Our university hosts a variety of dining facilities with healthy options, as well as offers many ways to exercise on campus. College is full of late nights, but make sure to get some sleep every now and then. By eating right, getting enough exercise and being well rested, you will start to feel less stressed by the pressures of college, as well as stay healthy at USD.