As the new year and a new semester are now in full swing, it is time to start thinking about what we will do differently this time around. Some students will strive for a higher GPA, others for a dream internship and some will set a goal that many fail at year after year — to finally get in shape. It is easy to pass up going to the gym or cooking a healthy dinner because of busy class and work schedules, but it doesn’t mean it is impossible to make time for these things.
Incorporating fitness and working out into a weekly routine does not need to be as complicated as it may seem. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle does not have to mean spending two hours working out at the gym every day or waking up at the crack of dawn for a five-mile run through the park, nor does it mean eating only grilled chicken and broccoli and washing it down with green juice. Students do not have the time or energy for those habits.
Everyone needs to take a break from studying and working eventually, so use that time to move your body. Break up the time you spend hunched over a desk studying with a short walk to clear your head. Walking is a great way to get moving that does not require a lot of energy. You can walk to Central Park or along the Hudson River, but you can just as easily do it on the treadmill. Walking on the treadmill is great because if you really can’t take a break from studying, you can bring your work with you to the gym and study while walking. If you have spent any time in the gym at Fordham Lincoln Center, you have probably seen this in action.
Another way to get moving during a busy week is to take an exercise class. Taking a class in pilates or yoga can be very relaxing and it is not so intense that it burns you out for the rest of the day. That said, sometimes a high-intensity workout can be perfect. Working out releases endorphins, which can boost your mood and reduce stress, something that all students need a little help with.
If working out isn’t your thing, there are other ways to practice overall fitness and fit it into your calendar. Finding time even to take a breath can be challenging, but sometimes that is all fitness means. Meditation is a proven way to reduce stress and can take as little as one minute of your time. Try this the next time you feel overwhelmed with studying or are struggling to finish a paper. You can meditate before, after or even break up your work with short meditation breaks. Standing up and having a quick stretch can help to get things moving as well.
Staying healthy is just as important as studying hard for exams and putting in extra hours at your internship. If your body isn’t healthy, you can’t complete your assignments effectively. Think about it — if you aren’t fueling your body with the right foods or getting the right amount of sleep, you are not going to be feeling your best. When you feel good mentally and physically you produce the best quality of work, whether that means writing a great paper or having high productivity levels at work.
Part of staying healthy includes eating a balanced diet. It can be hard to sacrifice time to whip up a healthy meal in the kitchen, but that does not mean you should completely throw away your diet. It is unrealistic to deprive yourself entirely of pizza and burgers, but save that for when you can afford it — healthwise. Filling up on foods like these does nothing to help your energy levels in the long run. There are plenty of healthy options on and off campus for when you’re in a rush. If you are trying to save money and time, cooking more food than you need and saving it for the next day or days throughout the week can help.
No matter how many tests you have to study for or how little time you have outside of work, your health should also be a priority. Making time for yourself can, but does not have to, include a workout or a healthy meal.
While those things are great and important when you have the time, it is more important to make sure you are checking up on yourself throughout the semester. Start small and walk to pick up the food you order instead of using a delivery service. Use your time wisely and throw in a walk or a deep breath every once in a while, and you will have no problem maintaining a healthy lifestyle this year.