College Students Back to School Health Checklist
College provides wonderful opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. To make sure you get the most out of your experience, consider the following tips for staying healthy on campus.
Get plenty of exercise. Most college campuses offer student fitness centers with weights and cardio equipment. Take advantage of these resources to keep your immune system running in high gear. A regular workout routine will also help you better manage stress, while reducing anxiety.
Manage stress. Studies have linked stress to countless health problems. Other research has shown that our bodies are less resilient to infections when they are constantly bombarded by stress hormones. Try to reduce stress by choosing a manageable course load. You should also avoid procrastinating on assignments, so you won't be forced to pull an all-nighter.
Eat healthy. College often provides students with newfound freedom to make choices for themselves. Unfortunately, this can lead to poor diets, characterized by excess sugar and fat. To stay healthy and energized for demanding college courses, make sure to eat a healthy diet, rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Get plenty of sleep. It's no secret that insufficient sleep can make you less focused in class. Studies also suggest that it can promote depression, anxiety and mental distress. Other research has linked inadequate sleep to heart disease, diabetes, dementia and even cancer. Make sure to prioritize sleep while you're in college, and limit late nights as much as possible.
Avoid substance abuse. Over the years, college has become synonymous with experimentation. Unfortunately, this can lead to problems with drugs and alcohol. When they choose to use these substances recklessly, college students drastically raise their risk for accidents, overdoses, sexual assault and risky sexual behaviors that might lead to unintended pregnancies, HIV and other sexually transmitted disease. These substances can also promote increased stress and anxiety, along with depression and self-destructive behavior. You don't have to be a saint while you're in college; however, you should try to use good judgment, whether you're at a party or on a date.
Be smart about STDs. College campuses can have high occurrences of sexual transmitted diseases, including herpes, Chlamydia, gonorrhea and human papillomavirus (HPV). Be sure to practice safe sex by using a latex condom and get tested frequently to make sure you aren't inadvertently spreading an STD.