Do-it-yourself health

A harried student’s guide to fitting healthy choices into your day

As the school year progresses and work starts to pile up, so do our excuses for not taking care of ourselves. Home cooking becomes reheating and exercise becomes reading. It requires some energy right?

Because October seems to bring with it the realization that all your healthy goals and resolutions for this university year won’t come to fruition, the Journal has put together 10 ways you can fit a healthy lifestyle into your busy schedule.

1. Take walk breaks when you’re studying. Whether you’re at Stauffer Library or in your living room, getting up and walking around every hour or so will help re-energize you and increase your concentration level. Plus, at the end of an eight-hour session, you won’t feel like a total lump.

2. Take the stairs, especially in the library or Mackintosh-Corry Hall. Believe it or not, walking up a few flights probably won’t take any longer than waiting for the elevator. Bonus—it gives you a nice, healthy flush, which makes everyone look better.

3. In the grocery store, invest in those fruits and veggies that you’re eyeing. Worried you’ll forget to eat them or won’t have time to prepare them? Do it when you get home. Take an extra 15 to 30 minutes after your shopping spree and make a fruit salad for the week and wash your veggies. Once the prep is done, they’ll be much less intimidating.

4. Walk home from the grocery store (bonus points for using enviro-bags). It may seem like it’ll be a long and painful walk, but once you’re moving you’ll be fine. Want a little more from this workout? Use your grocery bags like dumbbells and do some bicep curls. You may draw a few stares, but you’ll have the last laugh when your arms are all toned and lovely.

5. Drink more water. Seriously. Your urine should be almost clear—the darker the colour the more dehydrated you are. So start packing a water bottle along with your books. Your skin and your energy level will thank you. Also, it’s cheaper than constantly refilling on caffeine.

6. Schedule one night a week when you can cook a real meal for yourself. It’s even better if you can get your housemates in on the deal. Not only will you be eating real food, but if you eat socially you usually eat a healthier portion size because you’re talking. Remember, it takes your stomach 20 minutes to tell your brain you’re full. If you’re talking and listening during a meal, your brain and your stomach are more likely to sync up than if you’re watching T.V.

7. Have a regular rant and rave session with your friends. Complaining can be a huge stress reliever, and rather than being one of those people who complains all the time, giving yourself (and your friends) a forum for it is pretty healthy. Whether you complain over beer or coffee (or pie) is up to you as long as you stop holding everything in.

An alternative for the more reserved: play a good and physical game of something. Anything from racquet sports to basketball to boxing, so long as you can exert some energy and stress, is a solid option for the non-vocal.

8. Make a dance-mix playlist. Dance parties are underrated and count not only in the exercise department but in the endorphin-raising one too. If you can get a dance party going once a week, even if you’re breaking it down alone, you’re going to be a happier, groovier person.

9. Have sex, and do it safely. Most people are pretty willing to make time for sex, and while it’s true that it’s only the person on top who really burns calories, you should both feel pretty good afterwards.

10. Indulge yourself. Maybe eating half a pie every day is a little excessive, but you should allow yourself a treat every once in a while. Whether you decide not to set your alarm one day, take a long bath, have a few drinks with friends or indulge in baked goods, make sure there’s room in your life for some fun. After all, all work and no play never made anyone very happy.

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