Creating Healthy Habits
As a busy student, finding time to eat well and exercise can be difficult, however, it is important to make time. Currently more than half of the U.S. population is either overweight or obese, both of which put an individual at increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, some cancers, and overall poor health. Healthy bodies and minds promote good general health. So, stay on track with some of our tips below:
- Eat your heaviest meal at the beginning of the day, lighter at lunchtime, and lightest at dinner.
- Incorporate into each meal more of the plant-based foods which are the basis of healthy eating: fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds.
- Eat small, regularly-scheduled meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism functioning consistently.
- Adding nuts to your diet packs a “protein punch” and provides a good dose of fiber into your diet.
- Avoid sugar-sweetened and artificially-sweetened beverages altogether.
- Make a pledge to yourself and with a friend or loved one to make healthier food choices each day.
When it comes to integrating exercise into your life, remember that the benefits of creating an interesting and satisfying exercise routine far outweigh the superficial rewards of not making time to get up and move:
- Reduced stress levels
- Increased energy
- Improved self-esteem
- Better quality of sleep
- Weight maintenance
Healthy adults are recommended to get 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise five or more days per week or 20 minutes of more vigorous exercise three days per week. If large blocks of time seem too daunting to tackle, then break up your exercise into smaller bursts of activity that can be squeezed in here and there, and by all means, consider an alternate plan for days when there’s a glitch in your routine.
Take a look at this variety and try:
- Three 10-minute walks throughout your day
- Two 15-minute power walks including taking stairs and walking longer distances at work or school
- 15 minutes of push-ups, sit-ups, and lunges in the morning, then 15 minutes of stretching in the evening
- An exercise DVDs to use at home to jumpstart your day or to avoid going outdoors on a rainy day
- 30 minutes of yoga to help unwind after a long day
- Enrolling in an exercise class so that activity fits regularly into your week
- Texting a friend to meet with you to “catch up” while strolling through the neighborhood or an outdoor mall
- Rewarding yourself at the end of a long week with a one-hour bike ride at the beach.
For further information or help, visit the suggested websites and read through the material. Sign-up for a free online calorie tracker, start an exercise plan or visit the Student Health Center, Bldg. 67B and request to speak with a nurse for guidance.
- Choose My Plate: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ (free online calorie tracker)
- Spark People: http://www.sparkpeople.com (free online calorie and exercise tracker)
- My Exercise Plan: http://www.myexerciseplan.com (free online exercise planner)
- My Fitness Pal: http://www.myfitnesspal.com (free online calorie tracker)