Health Tips for College Students

Everyone has heard of the freshman 15 and everyone from your parents to your older cousin that went to college a few years back has probably warned you of the dreaded college weight gain that comes with an all-you-can-eat meal plan.

What people fail to mention about the freshman 15 is that it can go either way: you can gain the weight or lose it. It just takes some determination, attention to your diet and these simple health tips for college students. 

Stay away from late-night eating

Some universities give their students access to 24-hour dining or shops around campus where students can swipe their card and pick up sandwiches, burgers, chips or anything else they may be craving. If there’s no 24-hour option, most of those places tend to be open late to accommodate for those late-night study sessions.

Even though you say you won’t be eating so late, it’s tempting because college comes with a lot of all-nighters and because dinner closes early (usually around 8 p.m.) you’re going to get hungry and the options at the late-night food places tend to be pretty cheap.

Don’t eat out so often, stick to your meal plan 

It’s tempting to head straight to Chipotle or Subway on your way home from class, but your wallet and your weight will thank you later on if you skip it. Some college campuses are filled with restaurants and most make great business being around so many hungry college students, but the extra calories and fat in that food will take a toll on you as the semester goes on if you’re not careful of how much you eat out.

Personally, I think I gained the most weight from eating out so much. There were a lot of times when I hated the dining hall food and because I lived close to a Subway and because delivery was only a phone call away, I chose the latter options.

Take advantage of the gym

Your parents are paying a big chunk of money for you to study and earn your degree, but at some schools that tuition price includes unlimited access to your university’s recreation buildings. So take advantage of your parents cash, take note of these health tips for college students, and head to the gym as often as you can.

If you’re lucky, that gym fee comes with access to classes so you can learn yoga, zumba or join a workout group all without paying anything out of pocket.

At my school, there’s a fee for joining those classes but it’s usually very small compared to how much you’ll pay anywhere else. For example, if I wanted to join a gym at my hometown of Chicago, I’d be paying about $30 a month and at school, it’s free for me to use the gym and a pass for two semester’s worth of group fitness classes is about $85.

Walk to class or ride a bike

Unless you’re at a university where the campus is spread out into two campuses, or a school in the city where buildings might be somewhat far apart, it’s not a long walk to get from your dorm to your class. So skip that crowded bus, leave your car at home and walk to class.

Even if it isn’t heavy exercise, walking still burns more calories than sitting on a bus and biking burns even more. Just watch out for pedestrians, bikers get on my nerves on campus because a lot of them aren’t careful even when there’s a lot of students walking around.

Get a workout buddy

A lot of college students like to stay in shape and use the school’s recreation buildings. So another one of my health tips for college students is to become friends with the people on your floor or the kids in your classes and go to the gym together. You don’t have to have the same workout routine or follow the same diet but sometimes having a friend at least walk to the gym with you encourages you to get your daily exercise in.

Follow these health tips for college students and you’ll have no problem avoiding that dreaded college weight gain.

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Melissa Espana

Melissa Espana

Melissa España is a junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign pursuing a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She hopes to one day write for a Chicago newspaper and have a group of loyal readers. When she’s not pursuing her dreams of being a reporter, she can be found at the Sigma Kappa house, watching reruns of “The Big Bang Theory” or correcting someone’s grammar.
Melissa Espana

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