How to Stay Healthy and Active This Semester

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Everyone has a different definition of the word healthy. Health can vary from physical health, such as freedom from illness or injury, and mental health, such as emotional and psychological health. During the semester, the majority of students are busy and feel like they have no time to practice living a healthy lifestyle. Between exams, jobs, and any other extracurricular activities, exercise may not be a priority. Although it may seem impossible, living a healthy and active lifestyle is manageable in everyone’s daily routine.

The key to leading an active lifestyle is actually simple. Being active just means you are engaging in physical activity throughout the day, rather than being sedentary, which means you are basically just sitting or lying around all day and hardly moving. You do not need to go to a gym or do a vigorous workout to live an active lifestyle. Simply going for a walk or jog for 30 minutes a day is fine. Combined with the walking you do to get from place to place, it should be about the same as walking an hour and a half. If you can find time to fit in a workout session, that’s great, but do not think just because it didn’t fit into your busy schedule that you can’t do anything to make a healthier choice. One thing that helps me personally is to try and plan my week so I can figure out a time that is good for me to do a quick workout in my room, or to even stop by the gym for an hour. It may not be every day, but that is fine as long as you can still get some walking in. If something comes up and alters the weekly schedule, it is not a big deal because some activity is better than none, and progress begins with small steps. Whether it is walking your dog, dancing, or just a jog in the park, physical activity comes in many forms.

Another way to be healthier during the busy semester is to make small changes in your diet. Instead of eating fast food everyday, try packing lunch and snacks from home. It might require more effort, but it is worth it, and guaranteed you will see a difference in not only your weight, but your skin and even attitude. Healthier people tend to be more positive and overall happier. Home cooked meals usually are made from more natural and healthier ingredients than fast food. Not to mention it doesn’t have that fake processed meats that are out there. But, make sure you are packing healthy snacks from home as well as meals. If you get hungry and want something quick, it is so easy to just grab a bag of chips. But next time, try an apple or celery sticks, with a dip on the side. Even if you go for chips, there are good alternatives to the typical salty, oily chip. Try oven baked, sea salts, kettle cooked, or veggie straws (they taste like regular chips). It is okay though, to eat out and enjoy fast food, and you can even make changes to your fast food order to make it healthier. Instead of ordering a large, try a medium or small. Or instead of a soda, drink water. Little changes like that do help you to get into the habit of making better diet choices.

At first this will all be really difficult, especially if you frequently eat a lot of junk and sugary foods. Sugar addiction is harder to break than drug addictions. You may be doing everything right, and one day just crave a candy bar. That is okay, and you can eat it. Never completely deprive yourself of your cravings, because while it may hold for a little while, usually it leads to binging on all the foods you have been restraining from. It is better to eat everything in moderation than to deprive yourself to take one step forward and ten steps back. As long as you do not go overboard, it will be fine, and will not make or break your healthy lifestyle. If you find it difficult to want to get up and exercise, something that might help motivate you is to watch workout videos. Seeing a new workout you want to try might make you get up and do it. Another motivational tool is to just put your workout clothes on. Making plans to workout with someone else helps a lot as well, because they will push you to do it, since you are not alone.

There are so many ways to live a healthy and active lifestyle when you are busy. It is all about putting an end to the excuses and knowing that it doesn’t need to be a hassle, and baby steps get results.

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