You’re poor, busy, stressed, drunk or hungover. It’s hard to be healthy. Resist the Pot Noodle and Haribo combo.

If I was to describe student life in five words it would be: late nights and Pot Noodles. When the novelty of being able to eat whatever you want and stay up as late as you want finally wears off we are left feeling groggy, gross and a shadow of our former, healthier selves. The thought of being healthy at uni seems almost incomprehensible, especially with all the excessive alcohol consumption. Of course, being healthy 24/7 isn’t practical either, but I have a few tips that will get you feeling fit and healthy again in no time!

When trying to be healthy, food is everything. As a student living a fast-paced life, I often find it difficult to find the time and motivation to cook. However, cooking really doesn’t take that long and can actually provide a some down-time from the busy University schedule. Not only that but if you cook instead of ordering a takeaway, you’ll be able to start to control what actually goes into your body. Once you finally banish that twice-weekly Chinese habit, you’re on a sure path to health. 

Yes, takeaways are a lifesaver and often taste like heaven. But have you ever tried replicating our favourite takeaways or restaurant foods at home? My main weaknesses are pizza and noodles – original, I know. So one day I just decided to try and make my own ramen. It is the quickest and easiest recipe that I stick to and I now actually prefer it to the Wagamamas original version. All you need is noodles, stock cubes spices and some meat and veg. Chuck it all into one pan and ta-dah! A cheap and super healthy version of your favourite noodle takeaway is done! The same can be done for pizza. You can easily buy pizza bases and topping ingredients from supermarkets for a lot cheaper than a Pizza Hut delivery costs. You’ll find that recreating your favourite food isn’t only great for your health but also a lot softer on your bank account! 

As for alcohol. It cannot be avoided at uni. Period. My advice is to stay away from the super sugary ciders and try to aim for more spirits. When mixed with a soda or tonic, they actually aren’t that bad for you. But you must always remember to drink responsibly. Binge drinking only serves to dehydrate your body and give you a headache from hell the next day. So, know your limits and stick to spirits.

Being so busy with University timetables, socialising and cooking awesome healthy meals, there may seem to be no time to get any exercise in at all! I find exercise to be a great way to destress and forget about all of my troubles. It has also been proven that exercise helps you get a better night’s sleep – a key factor in staying healthy and alert. 

So what options are out there for students who want to fit exercise into their lives? First of all, and probably the most obvious would be to do exercise at home and in our local area. If there is a park nearby or just some quiet roads near your house, a short run is a great way to reinvigorate yourself and get some cardio into your daily routine. I also know a lot of students who watch YouTube for exercise videos that they can follow in the comfort of their own room. 

However, if you’re like me and need a ridiculous amount of motivation to do any kind of physical exercise you might want to consider exercising with or around people. The best way to do this is to join a sports society at uni. I am part of a trampoline club and find that even going to two sessions a week allows be to stay healthy and keep me fit. So whether you fancy something high octane like football or basketball, or something a little less intense such as yoga, there is usually aways a society for you to join. 

The most typical way to stay fit is to join a gym. Yes. The dreaded ‘G’ word. I go to a local gym and love it. The only downside to a gym is the gym membership fee. With the typical gym membership at home being around £30 a month I was put off the prospect of going to the gym before I even got to university. However, I have found there are almost always great student discounts or student memberships. The average price for a gym membership in Cardiff is between £10 and £15 a month. A bargain? I think so! Most gyms also waive the joining fee if you’re a student. BONUS! You also have to find the time to dedicate yourself to the gym. I aim to go about 3-5 times a week. It may also help to get yourself a gym buddy. You’ll get motivation to go to the gym as well as a little bit of social time. 

Whilst some may find it difficult to stay healthy due to the fast paced university life, making small changes to the way you eat and fit exercise into your routine will make a big difference. Is it possible? Yes. Is it easy? No. But the feeling of being fit and healthy certainly makes the changes to your lifestyle worth it. 

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Written by Emma Riches, 10 months ago