There are many warnings that come along with entering your first year of college. You hear horror stories of friends forgetting to read through their syllabi in full, read about unlucky roommate situations and are often incessantly told to avoid the “freshman 15.” Looking after your physical well-being is ultimately a lesson of control, as many things are your first year of college. Just as you need to allocate time to study and wake up early for class, it takes some care to establish a healthy lifestyle in college. However, following these easy tips will help anyone focus on their diet and fitness without taking away from the enjoyable independence that college offers.
Many of us had the opportunity to play sports in high school or had a designated time to exercise during a physical education class. Unless you are a Division I athlete, college life does not offer a continuous, scheduled source of exercise. Therefore, setting aside time in your schedule for a stress-free sweat session is key. Without doing so, it can be easy to fill up free time with naps and Netflix.
Along the same lines, working out does not need to be something you dread. Find an exercise buddy who can head to the gym with you a few times a week. Sit-ups and squats will suddenly become much more fun with a partner by your side. Reynolds Gym also offers group classes, ranging from Zumba and spinning to yoga and RPM. Attending these sessions once or twice a week can help to break up the usual treadmill run.
With a campus surrounded by forestry, being active does not need to be limited to the gym. Head over to Reynolda trail, which can be accessed behind Winston Hall, for a truly scenic run. The path totals 1.7 miles and lets you walk past ponds, through flower patches and under towering trees, before finally leading to an open field of grass. When campus starts to feel small and your homework begins to pile up, a walk or run on this trail is always a refreshing change.
Eating habits come to be equally important as exercising during college, as they affect more than just your physical self. Thankfully, Wake Forest does a really great job at providing healthy options at the Fresh Food Company, better known as the Pit, as well as at the 336 Market in Benson. Eating at the vegan station in the dining hall, making a veggie-filled wrap and choosing whole wheat pasta are all simple, easy ways to be more conscious of your health when eating. Similar to working out, scheduling time to eat allows you to focus on consuming the right, clean foods instead of bingeing at dinner because you didn’t have time to eat lunch.
Another tip for healthy eating is to head to the grocery store once in a while to pick up your own snacks. Rather than relying on the chips from the vending machine, you can store things like yogurt and granola, kale chips and frozen grapes to curb your cravings. Putting high quality, nourishing food in your body will help fuel your studies and give you the energy to keep up with even the most hectic days.
The “freshman 15,” which may be seen as a myth, can quickly creep up on you. That being said, I urge you not to be too limiting during your first year of college. Eat the free cookies in your dorm lobby, pick up that slice of pizza from Zick’s that you’ve been craving and never say no to late-night Subway.