Staying fit and healthy in university is a challenge – there are more distractions than ever before, including late nights in the union (I mean the library!) and more pints than I could have ever imagined. But keeping your body healthy is essential – trust me when I say, a happy body makes everything easier, gives you more energy and can even help your studying and revising. It took me a long time to come up with a routine that keeps me healthy even on my busiest days, so here are my favourite tips on how you can stay fit in uni!
Rise and Shine
Starting your day in a positive way is SO important. So even though you might, like me, snooze your alarm about 10 times, make sure that once you get yourself out of those cozy sheets, you do everything you can to boost your energy levels.
When I wake up, I like to drink 1 litre of water while I do 5 minutes of stretching. Drinking water first thing in the morning wakes up your organs, prevents bloating and helps digestion for the day. Stretching kickstarts your system and prevents you from straining your body once you start your day!
2. Get your vitamins!
In the morning, you wanna get a dose of vitamins to help your immune system and metabolism. I like to drink water with a super greens powder and take vitamins. Uni is stressful, whether it’s cause you’ve spent too many late nights in the library or you’re hanging from a Skint night out – so remember to nourish your body and immune system. I take multivitamins, turmeric supplement (to prevent inflammation and cancerous bodies), B12 & calcium (fellow vegans, take note!).
Dieting is a fad. I’ll say that again if I need to. Sticking to a low-carb or very strict diet will not nourish your body the way it should be nourished. Embrace those whole grain carbs, and eat full portions – with loads of greens and fruits of course. Starving yourself is never the answer, and will not only leave you HANGRY, it will also leave you way more exposed to illnesses and injuries.
Those long days
Walk everywhere. Walking is so healthy for you, it keeps your metabolism boosted and burns calories. What’s even better? You can walk anywhere in Dundee. The campus is so central that you really have no excuse. PSA: make sure you wear comfy footwear, always.
5. Meal prep food for your day
It’s expensive and can be very unhealthy to eat meal deals or takeaways every day. When you have long days of lectures or library-sessions, make sure to bring in something you enjoy (we all need that comfort food am I right) and that is healthy. For an 8-hour day I bring at least 2 meals with me, and heat them up in the library microwaves!
6. Bring (healthy) snacks with you
I’m a snacker. I would snack all day every day if I could. If you ever wanna make me a happy gal, bring me a bag of crisps and you’ll be set. However, and I repeat: expensive and unhealthy. Some of my favourite snacks to bring to the library from home are raisins, fruit and BCAAs.
7. Take breaks
Sitting down for too long isn’t healthy. Studying for too long isn’t healthy. The combination is dreadful trust me. Give yourself a break! Take 10-20 minute walks, go see your friends or put on a short episode of friends (or whatever floats your boat) at least once every 2 hours. It’s important!
8. Find a sport/activity that you enjoy doing
Ok, I know people tell you this all the time, but I’m gonna tell you again aren’t I. If you DREAD going to the gym every time you go, that’s never gonna become a good habit. So listen – find what you love. If like me, you have a passion for weightlifting, do it. If you love football, join the football team. We have over 60 sports team in our Sports Union – there is definitely one for you!
9. Track your progress
Tracking your progress is essential when it comes to health and fitness. And before you start, I do not mean your weight. Your weight is not an indicator for how healthy, strong or fit you are. Keep track of things such as how many more steps you walked today than yesterday, how many miles you ran last month and how many you run this month, or how much weight you’re squatting. Those are the things that matter! Reward yourself for sticking to a healthy routine and always work to get better.
10. Treat yourself
Lemme tell you, a healthy body without a healthy mind is pretty much useless. So even though it’s important to nourish your body, do not be too strict with yourself. Go for a pint with your friends, eat popcorn at the cinema, take study breaks and go out dancing! It’s ok, and that’s healthy too!
11. Have a big dinner
Again, I cannot stress enough how essential it is to feed your body. The “you’re not supposed to eat before bed” haters are just that – haters. Have that pasta (and remember to add veggies). Healthy food in big volumes are much better than tiny portions of processed foods. Listen to your body, eat when you are hungry and stop worrying so much.
12. Prep your food for the next day
This makes your morning a LOT easier.
13. Drink a litre of water before bed
Your body gets completely dehydrated while you’re asleep, so give your organs a helping hand.
14. Get a good nights sleep
For me, a good nights sleep means 8 hours. It doesn’t always happen, and I feel the consequences when it doesn’t. Take time to figure out how much sleep you need to feel energised and good during the day and make sure you stick to that time, at least as much as possible. Your body and muscles are recovering and growing while you sleep, so you won’t be seeing any progress if you don’t. Also, who doesn’t love an extra hour in bed?
15. Don’t take life too seriously!