Monday, August 17, 2009

Nontraditional Students and the Freshman 15 - Keeping Your Health and Sanity When Attending College

As nontraditional students, keeping your health and sanity is a must. Every college student learns about the dreaded 'freshman 15.' What no one talks about is how much more likely gaining 15 pounds or more is for those of us who are no longer in our twenties. As we age, our metabolism slows down, making it easier than ever to bring home the freshman 15 and some of his brothers. Once they move in, it is difficult to get them to leave. Spending hours everyday in front of a computer, sitting in classes, or reading books adds to the problem.

There are several ways to help prevent weight gain while attending college.
Walk to your classes. It is very tempting to drive from one campus building to the next, or jump on the campus bus, but unless the next class is too far away to get to in the length of time between classes, walking will give you some exercise. The fresh air will help you think better when you get to the next class, too.
Sign up or join the campus fitness center. Spend at least 30 minutes three times a week using the campus exercise equipment. If you have never used it before, be sure to talk with the fitness center monitor for instructions on using equipment. Also, you might check in with your doctor or the campus nurse to make sure you are healthy enough to exercise.

Take advantage of the campus swimming pool. Swimming is a good all-body workout, and can help you avoid adding those extra pounds, or even help you get rid of a few.
Drink water instead of soda from the machines. Water is calorie free, required for health, and can be carried from home or purchased at the campus bookstore. Don't substitute juices for soda. Most juice has as many or more calories as soda.
Ride a stationery bike while reading your textbooks. Since you don't have to watch where you are going, you can give your attention to what you are learning.
Form a walking group or yoga group with like-minded students. Whether it is because misery loves company, or because it gives you someone to talk to while exercising, a supportive group can help motivate you to stay with your fitness routine.

The most important things you can do for keeping your health and sanity when attending college is to eat right and get enough rest. Take a good multi-vitamin to help you maintain the schedule most college students endure. Many doctors recommend taking extra vitamin C during cold and flu season. This is sound advice for college students, since you will come into contact with a large number of people on campus. Getting enough rest will also help keep your immune system operating at peak capacity.

The freshman 15 is not a foregone conclusion. With the right diet and exercise choices, you can prevent those 15 pounds, feel better, and cope better with the hectic schedule imposed on college students. Get away from the computer. Put the book down. Get outside and get some fresh air. Your body and brain will thank you for it.

Nontraditional students have very specific needs. For helpful information for nontraditional students, visit Student Again.

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