When it comes to health and fitness, I think university can be one of those things where it can go drastically one way or the other. Luckily, I’ve actually found it easier to live a healthy lifestyle at uni than I did at home. The gym is half the price, motivation is higher and when it comes to food I’m totally in control of what I have in the cupboards. So far I’m really pleased with my health and fitness routine, so I thought I’d make a little list of all the things that’ve helped me along so far.
- Eat simple, healthy foods. It’s really easy to overthink it when it comes to eating healthily, or to believe healthy food is too expensive when you’re at uni. The truth is, though, that healthy eating does not have to be difficult or time-consuming, and if you’re using the right ingredients it’s actually a TONNE cheaper than eating less healthy foods (think takeaways, ready meals etc…). I spend roughly £20-£25 a week on food, which is a lot less than I anticipated. For best results financially, plan your meals weekly (which I’ll go into more depth on in just a moment) and only buy exactly what you need.
- Batch cook. This doesn’t have to mean cooking every meal for the week ahead on a Sunday – it can do if that’s what you prefer/if you have the freezer space – but it doesn’t have to. Personally, I tend to do a few meals a week where I’ll just double or triple the portion I cook and eat it for the next day or 2 (make sure you take the right precautions to avoid food poisoning). This really cuts down your cooking time and means you can have something there to just heat up when you come in tired from lectures.
- Meal plan. I know I mention this all the damn time but it’s such a life-saver for your health, time and finances. As I mentioned in the last point, doubling up on portions is a great thing to do, but what’s even better is planning when you’re going to do this. This way, when you know you’re not going to want to cook you’ve pre-planned to have something waiting for you. Planning healthy lunches and snacks to take into uni with you is another winner, and will save you a hell of a lot of money!
- Exercise early. This has been one of the best things I’ve started adopting. I’m lucky enough to actually be more of a morning person, but I definitely wasn’t always! Being a morning person is something you can teach yourself and it’s honestly so rewarding. I love exercising early in the morning because that rush of endorphins really sets me up for a positive day. Don’t get me wrong, some people enjoy exercising at night which also has its benefits, but for me there’s nothing like achieving a workout first thing. It also means you don’t have to drag yourself to the gym post-lecture which, let’s be honest, nobody wants to do.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Oh look, another thing I mention all the time! In fact one of my first ever blog posts was about the benefits of drinking water. When I was younger I drank literally NONE, and I really don’t know how I functioned. In fact, I probably didn’t function even half as well as I could’ve done if I’d just ditched the ‘I don’t like the taste of water’ excuse and actually gave it a go. I’m still a bit fussy with water taste, but once you get into the habit you won’t understand how you went without before. Nowadays I drink 3 litres a day very easily (that’s plain water, not tea or coffee), but when I started out I tried to drink 1.5 litres and struggled. Just like anything in life, it’s all about keeping up the good practices until they become second nature – and water drinking is definitely worth making habit!
There’s a lot of misconceptions out there that uni is a walk in the park and ‘the best 3 years of your life’. Whilst it can be an amazing time, it’s also a demanding one. In order to get the most out of your time at uni, it’s incredibly important to prioritise looking after yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, just make a conscious effort to be kind to your mind and body whenever possible.