4 tips to keep yourself from forgetting your health
With deadlines for papers and projects looming and exams hot on their heels, it’s easy to understand why exercise and nutrition might end up on the back burner.
But Jenni Varughese, a fitness programmer with Sport and Wellness, says that when it comes to finding balance, there really is a way to have your cake (or carrot) and eat it too. Here are some tips from Jenni that can help you battle your inner health and fitness naysayer.
1. I know exercise helps beat stress, I just don’t have time for it right now
“A lot of people think exercise means changing their clothes, dedicating an hour and a half of their time, working really hard and being exhausted,” says Jenni. “But it doesn’t have to be that way.”
She says that 10-minute bouts of exercise totalling 150 minutes a week can be just as beneficial as the same time condensed into only a few workouts.
“Don’t buy into the myth that you need to be athletic/in a gym/taking a fitness class to be active. Exercise can be as simple as getting up from your studying at your laptop for 10 minutes at a time and walking up a flight of stairs and back down again.”
A step in the right direction
I remember sitting around my apartment one day waiting for my shift to start, and realizing that my heart was beating really fast. I didn’t like my job, I was broke and I wasn’t taking care of myself – I was drinking too much and had gained a whole bunch of weight. I hated feeling like that, so I decided I needed to do something. Anything. Read more of Madeline's story.
2. All the gyms I’ve ever been to are scary meat markets and I don’t fit in
Afraid that your first trip to the treadmill might be worthy of the grand prize on America’s Funniest Home Videos? Can’t tell a TRX from a ViPR? Don’t worry.
“People who come to Sport and Wellness are all ages and all fitness levels. If you have a question or want some advice, just ask at the front desk—we are more than happy to help.”
And if you’re a beginner, Jenni says that some of the value-added classes are a great place to start (it’s easy to blend in when there are 30 people in a class—and they’re free for full-time students!)
“The gym has a positive atmosphere, whether you’re new or experienced—and our instructors always offer options for people who need things modified—to be easier or more advanced.”
3. I can’t afford to stay fit
Good news! You’ve already paid for your gym membership. “We have a lot to offer and access to Sport and Wellness facilities is part of your enrolment if you're taking six credits or more per term—so if you haven’t already made us part of your routine, please come see us,” says Jenni.
(If you really don’t know where Building 8 is, it’s right downstairs from Tim Hortons at the East end of the pedway that goes to the Robbins.)
And you won’t find a better deal when it comes to specialty fitness classes. “Student-only programming is low-cost—you can take 12 barre fitness classes for $60—and that’s just one example,” says Jenni.
4. Fight the Freshman 15? Absolutely! Right after I finish my cookie…
If you’re one of the lucky few who had your lunch packed for you until a few months ago, you might be starting to notice that balancing studying, writing papers, working and spending time with your new friends doesn’t necessarily leave a lot of time for planning meals and eating healthy.
And if you’ve already fallen into the vicious cycle of grab a cookie—crash—drink coffee—can’t sleep—wake up tired—can’t keep your eyes open in classes—you might want to rethink resorting to caffeine and simple sugars to get you through the day.
“Being prepared and organized really is the answer,” says Jenni. “Try making seven servings of raw veggies—one for each day of the week—on the weekend and grab one every morning on your way out the door. And pack your lunch the night before.” (Your Mom probably did that too.)
While we’re on the subject of eating healthy and the Freshman 15, remember that obsessing about weight—losing or gaining it—isn’t healthy.
“It’s all about balance,” says Jenni. “Going out for wings and eating Kraft Dinner are normal parts of university life. Just make sure that if you know you’re going to indulge, then plan ahead and have a salad or more protein for lunch and drink lots of water throughout the day.”
Want more health tips? Student Health 101 has chat rooms, resources and articles written just for university students and the Sport and Wellness blog has articles from MacEwan University fitness and aquatics staff, nutrition articles, sample exercises, and swim workouts and tips. Check it out.
Looking for more advice?
There are lots of great tips and ideas in our First-Year Student Primer series:
This story is part of Changing Minds: Creating a healthy campus – an initiative that makes mental health a priority. The program connects training opportunities, support services, resources and stories from real people across the MacEwan University community.
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.