As the semester picks up pace, the number of students who pledged to regularly visit the Lerner Health and Wellness Center to stay in shape will dwindle, freeing up sought-after treadmills. If you work out regularly, it becomes easier to justify a pastry to accompany your caffeine fix at Starbucks before walking into Gelman Library. But when juggling classes, homework, jobs and internships, visits to the gym tend to take the back burner.
But maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help relieve stress and keep off the extra pounds gained from fast food and a fluctuating sleep schedule.
Here are The Hatchet’s tips to incorporate healthy habits into your daily routine, even when it seems your schedule only allows for sedentary activities.
Stand up, pace around: Try to do more things standing up, whether it be reading for class or watching TV. When your parents call to check in, go on a brisk walk while you talk.
“When you stand up, your heart has to work harder to pump the blood through your body, which essentially burns more calories,” fitness agent Abigail Zeplowitz said.
Take the stairs: You may already do this – especially if you live below the fifth floor of Thurston Hall and walk up the steps to avoid glares from other students in the elevator. If not, start. The stairs add some quick cardio to your daily routine.
Skip the cabs: Students have both the luxuries and the curses that come with an urban campus, rather than one with sprawling hills. Just because the Metro and cabs are options does not mean they are necessities. While the weather is still pleasant, start your commutes a few minutes earlier and walk.
Sit on a Swiss ball: Swap your desk chair for a Swiss exercise ball, which you can also use for core exercises. You will burn more calories and might even boost your productivity, according to a study conducted at the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at SUNY Buffalo.
Play ball: Rather than hanging out in the dorms with friends, get outside or to the gym and play Frisbee, walk or join an intramural team.
Exercising is important, but poor eating habits are easier to nip in the bud.
Eat in: “The more you eat in, the more you can control and the healthier your plate is going to be,” registered dietician Rachel Brandeis said. Try to read nutrition labels when shopping, and buy foods that are quick and easy to prepare, like apples and peanut butter or pita, hummus and carrots.
Shop smart: Have a surplus of J Street money? Fruit and veggies cost more there than chicken fingers or fro-yo, but you can buy a banana for just 19 cents at Trader Joe’s.
Avoid snacking: Your metabolism slows down at night, so keep healthy snacks – like apples and peanut butter – on hand to avoid midnight trips to 7-Eleven for Hot Pockets.