Tips for staying healthy in college

Photo by Taylor Alderman | The Collegian LeighAna Hueter, freshman in apparel and textiles, looks at her phone while on the elliptical at Chester E. Peters Recreation Complex on Monday evening. People who use their phones while working out can use an app called My Fitness Pal to keep better track of their health.

College life can be overwhelming at times. With academic pressure and a hundred other things going on, our health can sometimes take a backseat. The equation for a healthy lifestyle is not that complicated: what you put into your body determines what you get out of it. Balanced diets, exercise, a good night’s sleep and minimizing stress will allow your body to stay healthy and allow you to better balance your academic and social life. The following tips will help you to stay on top of your health:

Eat right

This should be at the top of your list. Eating the right food is extremely essential to staying healthy in college. However, it can also be the most difficult thing to do. Whether you live in the dorms or off campus, it can be incredibly easy to skip the salad section and go for the pizza or mac and cheese instead.

While you might not find it appealing to completely cut out unhealthy food from your diet, attempt to maintain a balance of salads and fruit with the occasional cheeseburger. The best way to do this is to plan ahead. The Housing and Dining Services website lists food menus for all meals, and also has helpful calorie counters that could be used to plan meals ahead of time. Use this feature to plan when you want to stick to salad and when you want to indulge.

A good way to stay on track when it comes to eating healthy is to use smartphone apps, like My Fitness Pal. This free app in particular allows you to scan and track the food you eat.

Work out

Physical activity should be an important part of any college student’s schedule. As a student at K-State, memberships to the Chester E. Peters Recreation Complex and the Natatorium are included in your student privilege fee, making them accessible and cost-effective to use. Research by the World Health Organization shows that 30 minutes of moderate exercise (such as a light jog five days a week) can help the body stay healthy by improving muscle and heart health. Whether it’s going to the Rec or playing a game of volleyball by the dorms, a few hours a week spent outside can help clear your mind and help you focus on academics.

Besides helping you eat right, My Fitness Pal can also help when it comes to tracking the amount of time you worked out and allows you to sort through various activities to predict the amount of calories you burned.

Sleep well

Getting enough sleep in college is vital, and with all the hours students need to devote to classwork and extracurricular activities, it can be difficult to get a full night’s sleep. However, concentrating in class and meetings, retaining information and finishing assignments are all made that much more difficult by a lack of sleep.

So, resist the urge to stay up longer than midnight to finish homework. Have a to-do list in your planner or phone so you can keep track of all the assignments you need to finish that day. Despite the preparation, there will be a few times when you absolutely need to stay up late. Balance that out by taking a nap the next day. The sleep, though brief, will let you recover and help you get through the day in a healthier manner.

Sleep Genius is another helpful free app; you can use when it comes to tracking and managing sleep. It allows you to customize schedules based on whether you want to take naps, sleep in or just relax and unwind.

Manage stress

College is great, but it does come with its fair share of stress. Balancing academics with personal relationships while getting used to the new environment can cause potentially harmful stress if its not managed correctly.

Simple steps like scheduling times to study every day and maintaining good relationships with teachers can help you stay on top of deadlines and prepare for tests effectively. It is inevitable that at some point, however, you might have to make a difficult choice – that’s when having a list of priorities can help. Keep this list nearby and each time you have to make a difficult choice, see where each choice falls within your priorities and decide from there.

Headspace is a great app that allows you to manage stress and calm your brain, which would be worth using on a regular basis as college students.

Everybody struggles to stay healthy in college, but it doesn’t have to be so difficult. With some conscious decisions, small changes and better time management you can lead a healthier college lifestyle.

Som Kandlur is a senior in mass communications. Please send comments to