College students lead hectic and frenzied lives. Often forced to balance school, jobs, family, friends and other activities, it leaves limited time for students to prioritize health. It is quicker and more convenient to grab a bag of chips and a slice of pizza than to pack a healthy, homemade lunch. The stress of cramming for exams, meeting deadlines at work and taking care of personal matters can drive students to seek comfort in deliciously unhealthy foods. These unhealthy patterns tend to follow us after college, making it difficult and strenuous to find time to hit the gym or even get outside.
With that being said, it might be worthwhile for students to hunker down and challenge themselves to altering both dietary and exercise patterns, as healthy eating and exercising regularly can have a direct impact on academic success and overall well-being.
Fueling the body with healthy foods also fuels the mind. Eating healthier provides more energy and increases ability to focus and get things done. For some, healthy eating can seem daunting, but once healthy eating and cleansing the body of unhealthy foods becomes routine, there will be a noticeable shift in cravings between healthy foods as opposed to junk foods. The switch in cravings is because human beings notice how healthy diets translate to energy.
Foods such as nuts, blueberries, broccoli and salmon are just several foods that have the antioxidants and nutrients that help provide the mind and body with the support it needs to improve on aspects such as memory and concentration.
Healthy eating habits coupled with regular exercise can drastically alter both physical and mental health in positive ways. Exercise, more specifically weight training and cardiovascular exercise, can be intimidating for many, but it affords invaluable benefits for the human body.
Improved concentration and increased cognitive abilities are two prominent benefits that could aid college students in their overall performance. Regular exercise, especially cardio, can increase the nightly quality of sleep. Substandard rest can be detrimental to our ability to retain information and execute classwork to the best of our abilities.
Elevated stress levels are synonymous with the college lifestyle. Exercise can significantly help manage and decrease stress levels, leaving one feeling refreshed and reinvigorated. Once we get into the routine of exercising, a stress-inducing hormone called cortisol can be reduced, alleviating some of the tension and negativity human beings feel. High levels of cortisol can hinder our brain’s ability to retain information and negatively affects our ability to get a good night’s rest.
Adding exercise into our daily routine also helps build time management skills that can be utilized in our studies. It teaches the importance of optimizing time and staying organized, both of which are transferable life skills that can help you delegate more time to sit down and finish homework, meal prep, catch up with friends and family, read and do other things that enhance life quality.
Making a lifestyle change to eat healthier and exercise regularly will reap a vast number of positive benefits in all aspects of life. It may seem daunting and challenging but with determination and willpower it can be accomplished. It can propel you to further succeed in your academic career and beyond.