How To Lead A Healthy Campus Life – Tips And Benefits By Nikhil Murthy
There is more to health than just looking ripped and being free from illness. The World Health Organization (WHO) has the following definition for health, which hasn’t been amended since 1948 – “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Overall well-being is feeling positive about oneself, which indicates good health.
Post Graduation courses are designed to be challenging, and students tend to neglect their well-being because of the frenetic schedules. We often forget that maintaining good health assists in not just surviving such busy programs, but also in acing them. So, here are a few areas, in the descending order of negligence, which are important to lead a healthy student life:
Diet and Nutrition: “Getting late for class”, “Have a submission” and “Running late for an exam” are the most common excuses, among the myriad of them, used to skip meals at college. But, without food you may end up dozing off in that class/exam, or running out of energy to finish your assignment. So, try following these tips –
- Have four meals in a day and stick to the timings, so that your body gets used to a particular cycle (for example have breakfast everyday between 8:30 am to 9:30am). Changing this cycle will affect your body dynamics.
- Your breakfast should be the heaviest meal of the day, followed by a moderate lunch, snacks and a light dinner. So, do not skip breakfast! The brain needs a lot of energy when we wake up in the morning.
- Now, for what to eat. Ensure to have at least two servings of fruits and vegetables (If not available in your canteen, buy them). They contain essential vitamins and minerals which in simple terms make you feel good. Bananas, which are easily available at low prices, are the best to consume among fruits. And, for vegetables, have cucumbers and sprouts.
- What not to eat? Avoid fried items, “junk food” and sweets as much as you can. They make you lousy. You can substitute sweets with fruits.
Regular exercise: Any physical activity which makes you sweat, releases chemicals called endorphin. Endorphin interact with the receptors of the brain to reduce the perception of pain, both emotional pain (due to stress or depression), and physical strain felt while exercising. Regular physical activity lifts your mood, makes you feel positive and, of course, makes you look good. Spending at least an hour for four to five days a week exercising is important to stay healthy. This could include playing a sport, running, swimming, weight training, cycling, walking etc. Find yourself an activity which you like doing and sweat!
Adequate sleep: The circadian clock (also known as the biological clock, body clock etc.) regulates sleeping and eating patterns, brain activity, hormone production and other similar tasks. Not following a fixed schedule of activities, including sleep, disturbs this body clock resulting in fatigue, frustration, drowsiness etc. Six to eight hours of continuous sleep everyday is essential to stay active, and to not doze off during lectures. Sleeping controls and secretes certain hormones required for the body’s well-being. Resting in breaks upsets these patterns, and therefore should be avoided as much as possible. Ideally, try being busy during the day and sleep in the night.
Stay busy: “An idle mind is a devil’s workshop”, is a statement which our parents would have used at least once on us. Being involved with productive work ensures in maintaining our brain activity levels, mind and emotional state healthy. The course program, naturally, does the job of keeping the students busy (and hence this area is mentioned in the end). But, depression, procrastination, boredom etc. can lead to inactivity and lack of interest, which impairs health. Staying busy, at such situations is required for recovery. Other than focusing on the course assignments and activities, you can follow these tips to stay occupied –
- Read – news, research articles and books, novels etc.
- Seek opportunities to apply your learning, like academic competitions.
- Start writing or learn a new language.
- Start a new hobby, like playing a musical instrument.
Relationships: There are plenty of research results which conclude that having positive social connections can boost a person’s well-being. Being involved in close relationships reduces stress levels significantly and improves immunity. Having supportive collaborations adds more humor and meaning to one’s life. Also, knowledge is shared though conversations and we work better with people we are familiar with. Since human beings are social animals, a quality social life enhances health.
Health is as equally important as our career ambitions and goals. It is imperative to be responsible about our well-being, and spend time taking care of ourselves.
“Good health is not something we can buy. However, it can be an extremely valuable savings account.”
– Anne Wilson Schaef
About the Author:
Nikhil Murthy is a second year student at IIM Indore and a part of the InsideIIM’s student team 2016-17. He is also a part of IIM Indore’s campus radio and captain of the basketball team. His interests include writing, travelling and DJing.