Returning to University as a Post Graduate student has opened my eyes to the significant shift in lifestyle that often has to be made. Particularly for those of us who are leaving full-time work, where we enjoyed a life full of routine and had our health and fitness sorted during the week. Embarking on a new, and possibly career-changing, path is an exciting prospect. It brings with it a fresh start, the opportunity to develop our knowledge and make interesting new friendships. Unfortunately, what it can also bring is a lack of routine, unhealthy food choices and less motivation to work out. Choosing to return to study doesn’t have to mean sacrificing our health or fitness!
Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle whilst at uni:
- Plan your weekly workouts… The first step to achieving a productive fitness routine is to figure out your weekly class timetable. Look at what days you attend class and what the hours are. Try to plan what exercise/activity you will do each day. For example, you might like to start waking up early every Monday and go to the gym or for a run in the morning before you leave. On Tuesdays perhaps you could go for a long afternoon walk or yoga class in the afternoon. Print out your timetable and stick it up somewhere that you will often look at. Try to stick to your schedule throughout the week, and eventually it will become habit.
- Take advantage of your breaks… If you have breaks in between your classes, use them! Go for a brisk walk or run around the uni grounds or surrounding streets. Most universities have their own gym, where you can do weights, cardio or participate in a class with a friend. Unless you are studying in the library or collaborative work areas, avoid sitting down for prolonged periods.
- Bring a packed lunch… It can be so tempting to opt for buying a quick and delicious lunch from the uni cafeteria or nearby shops. However, apart from spending unnecessary money on expensive meals, it can lead to the consumption of less than nutritious foods. Instead, make sure you always carry a few healthy snacks with you, such as fruit or nuts, and bring your lunch in an air tight container. If you are having trouble fitting everything in your bag, invest in a medium-sized backpack. That way you can easily carry your laptop, books and lunch (as well as the key essentials like wallet, phone and lipgloss!)
- Have early nights…Often, it can seem more plausible to have later nights when you are uni, compared to working full time. There is something about the laid back nature of going to uni that subconsciously tells us it is ok to rock up to class after a four hour sleep, with a large coffee in hand and bags under our eyes. However, it is just as important to get enough sleep and go to uni feeling rejuvenated as it is to walk in to work feeling energetic and enthused. Your brain is working very hard to learn all of the new information you are exposed to, and if you are wanting to keep up our fitness routine, you are going to have to prepare your body and mind for a productive day.
- Stay hydrated!… It may be an obvious one, but make sure to bring a drink bottle filled with clean water everyday. Make sure to suss out where the taps are at your uni campus, and refill often. Try to avoid spending money on sugary drinks, and never substitute water with energy drinks!
Follow these tips to keep you feeling fit and healthy through the duration of your time at university!
Try these easy lunchbox options:
- Chicken and salad pita wraps
- Tuna, veggies and brown rice
- Minestrone soup (find the microwaves at your campus!)
- Carrot sticks and hummus
- nuts and seeds
Article by Heidi Greig.
Heidi Greig is a 25-year-old Melbournian with a passion for all things health and fitness. Coming from a background in modern dance and now enjoying the benefits of Reformer Pilates, Heidi is well –aware of the importance of regular, heart rate rising activity for a balanced and happy life!
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