Most college kids spend hours behind a desk, in a crowded lecture hall, and slumped down on couches and chairs in common rooms. You may think it’s hard to get active when you spend five hours a day listening to lectures, dissecting frogs, and learning complicated math, but I’m here to tell you that not only is it possible to get out there and get moving during your busy day, but in the long run you’ll actually have more energy and brainpower in those labs, during those long, boring lectures, and in the classroom if you maintain a regular fitness routine.
It starts with everyday mobility. Every day on campus you have the opportunity to just walk. Unless you live in a dorm that’s a measly three steps from every one of your classes and also happens to be next to the dining hall, you have a lot of walking back and forth from class to class throughout the day. Depending on how big your school is, you could end up walking three or more miles a day!
Here are five tips from Caveman College to you for maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle while juggling a busy schedule:
Tip #1: Take the long way to class
That’s right. I challenge you to find the longest possible way to and from your dorm, class and wherever else you may be headed. I know it seems kind of crazy, but after a few weeks of walking more, you’ll have built up a bit more cardiovascular endurance and will see better results in the gym. You will also notice an energy boost. Several studies have shown the benefits of walking, including the one mentioned here. Your body wants to move (the reason why we get restless after sitting in a chair for hours in a row), so let it move!
Tip #2: Stop eating ice cream at every meal and eat A LOT of salad.
So, this doesn’t mean stop eating ice cream and start eating cake. This means really telling yourself, I’m going to take control of my health now. Every evening, I sit with my friends and am surrounded by fried fish sticks and pepperoni pizza with a side order of chocolate cake.
I pretty much stick out like a sore thumb when I put down my huge salad. Some of my friends are amazed how I can eat like that every day, but when I tell them I haven’t been sick in months and have more energy than ever, it starts to make sense to them. At this point I don’t think I need to list sources for why eating salad over ice cream is beneficial, but for any skeptics out there, here’s what a few professionals have to say. Be that guy or girl who starts the salad trend. It’s a good trend to set.
Tip #3: Ride a bike.
This goes along with Tip #1. The more you move, the more your body will thank you. Whether it’s with a sexy physique or less chronic illness yearly, you’ll notice a difference if you simply get moving. Almost every college has bike racks around campus at this point, and if not, I’m sure you could find a tree or pole to tether your bike to (just don’t tie it to a fire-hydrant, the fire department tends to get upset about that). So whether it’s a ride to the local Walmart or from class to class, or just for plain exercise every few days, utilize your bike for a fun way to keep yourself moving.
Tip #4: Work at a standing work-station!
As you can see on to the right, my bed is propped up pretty high, with enough room to slide a mini-fridge underneath. Besides that convenience, it serves as a great place to work. I can put my laptop on my bed and wala! a standing work-station. If you’ve never heard of this before, here’s a great article on standing at work and how it can benefit you.
When you associate your bed with sleeping and you try to lie down in your bed to read a book, you’re most likely going to get sleepy. This occurs because you’ve trained your brain to associate the bed with sleeping not working. But if you make a habit of using the high bed as a “desk,” you’ll notice a much higher efficiency in your work capabilities and you definitely won’t get sleepy!
Another great benefit of the standing work-station is that it’s a great way to maintain good posture. Often times, we slump over our desk while doing homework and using the computer, sometimes not even realizing it. You may think you’ll get tired from standing for a while, but as long as you have a somewhat soft floor under your feet, you’ll be comfortable for hours!
So whatever you choose to move you, just be consistent with it. Set a routine and do it often to reep the benefits. The most important thing to remember is the more you move, the more you benefit, so move often!
Tip #5: Sleep! Seriously. Do this a lot.
If you’re wondering what this has to do with staying active, you actually stay very active during sleep. Sleep is a means of active recovery for your mind and body and is crucial for maintaining overall health. I can understand it may be difficult to get sleep with exams, parties, and extra curricular commitments, but if you seriously dedicate six to nine hours to sleeping every night, your body will have enough energy to operate at a healthy level daily. Experts believe that while we sleep, neurons which are used while awake have the opportunity to shut down and recover. So you can imagine, if you deprive your brain of this nightly opportunity, neurons will start to malfunction and cause anything from hallucinations to mood swings. Seems to be a great reason to get some sleep. If you want to learn more about the importance of sleep, check this post out.
Now it’s your turn. How do you do to stay active on campus? Drop us a comment below.
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— Josh Singer (@Josh_Singer93) September 6, 2012