By Halyee Holt
With summer break only a couple weeks away, it’s time to get back into the swing of a healthy lifestyle. Most college students don’t have the willpower to cut out all of their guilty pleasure snacks and go to the gym. Luckily, there are simple ways that can have anyone on their way to feeling as great as they look for the warm months ahead.
Kent State fitness trainer Chelsea Reed recommends diversifying your fitness lifestyle in order to create consistency. Activities like hiking, swimming, walking your dog or even rock climbing are enjoyable ways to stay active. “Just make it a part of your everyday life. Being active does not have to be a chore; make it fun,” she said.
Nadia Paskert, a neuropsychology student at the University of Cincinnati, found a spot for fitness in her life amidst a busy schedule. Paskert recommends waking up at 6:30 a.m. to work out, which allows endorphins and energy to kick in while freeing up the rest of the day.
Although she does not participate in intramural or school sporting teams, Paskert finds time to workout four times a week. She currently focuses more on areas other than cardio. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Paskert lifts. In addition, Thursdays are set aside for band work, and Saturdays focus on abdominal strengthening.
“I have had way better results with lifting than with cardio,” Paskert said. “There was a point where I ran anywhere from five to seven miles on weekdays and 10 to 13 miles on weekends. Did I lose weight? Yes. Was it healthy? No. I ended up getting a stress fracture and popping my knee cap.”
Paskert is working every day towards a healthier mental and physical lifestyle.
If you don’t have time for fatiguing workout sessions at the gym, incorporate simple ways to get muscles moving throughout the day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is important that adults stay active in moderate to intense activities for at least two and half hours per week.
Whenever given the opportunity to choose between the stairs and the elevator, choose the stairs. Going up the stairs will help strengthen your thighs and lower body.
For those who always have their iPhone on them, download Apple’s health app. It takes all of your specific information in the app, but it is amazing at keeping track of flights of stairs climbed, steps taken and distance walked or ran. Setting goals of walking a certain amount of steps can burn calories throughout the day easily.
Another handy fitness tracker is the MyFitnessPal app. It allows the opportunity to track their macronutrients.
“This application allows you to avoid mindless eating. You can track your progress over time while acknowledging the content of your food,” Reed said.
No matter how much you may work out, snacking is a common habit among college students, and eating habits contribute to health as much as physical activity does. Whether it’s snacking while studying or watching Netflix, there are healthy and inexpensive substitutes to stay on track.
Instead of eating buttery, cheesy popcorn, opt for Smartfood Delight popcorn. It is only 35 calories per cup and comes in different flavors, including sea salt and cheddar. It’s a perfect snack for kicking back or keeping focused while studying.
If it is super late and you are craving a fresh snack, try cucumbers and ranch. This cool fruit tastes amazing dipped with lite ranch and is low in calorie with 96 percent water, says microbiologist Mala Srivastava.
“I basically follow a set of macros and eat whatever I like,” Paskert said. “I can indulge on my guilty pleasures like milkshakes, chips or ice cream as long as they fit within my number of macros given.”
A simple way to get closer to a toned body is by not drinking calories. It’s hard to resist the chocolatey sensation of Starbucks when pulling an all-nighter for a test or soda for leisure time after a long day, but it makes the world of a difference. When you need that extra energy boost, try hot green tea. It’s available in fruity flavors, and one cup will provide caffeine throughout the night.
After a strenuous workout, try Smartwater. Smartwater replenishes electrolytes and effectively hydrates the body without the extra salt or calories. You could also simply switch any soda with diet iced tea or fruit infused water. Diet Snapple Iced Tea allows you to have a flavorsome drink with only 5 calories.
“Whenever you are snacking or eating, just choose the healthier choice,” Reed said. “You do not have to do a fad diet because those do not work. Just make the effort to choose what tastes good and is good for you.”
Although it’s hard to avoid sleep deprivation due to class, homework, parties and working out, it is pertinent to get a decent amount of rest. At least eight hours of sleep a night helps the body function properly to stay fit, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Sleeping allows the body time to readjust and energize itself for the actions and activities it will perform the next day.
“It is imperative that you get the right amount of sleep in order to fully recovery from your workout,” Reed said.
To help your eyes adjust to sleeping better at night, turn your phone brightness down to the lowest level. For those who own iPhones, turn the night shift on. This setting allows the phone to still be lit, but it uses the least amount of colors associated with making the brain recognize daytime.
It also helps to shower right before bed and spray lavender Febreze in the room. The act of the body’s internal temperature decreasing after a shower and the scent of lavender are proven to help relax anyone before a good night’s rest, according to the Huffington Post.
“I feel like allowing your body to rest for eight hours a night allows yourself to function at it’s best,” Paskert said. “I also feel like the information I learn in class is best solidified when I am fully awake and alert.”
Although most college students have a million things on their minds and a to-do list that is never ending, these tips will allow any individual the opportunity to decrease the calories and feel better about themselves before summer. Remember that slimming down for summertime can be simple if you eat smart snacks, keep moving and sleep through the night.