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Nov 01, 2018 06:22 PM EDT

Health Tips For New University Students

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That first day of university is an unforgettable one. For many, it marks the first time living on their own, away from their parents. You can all of a sudden eat whatever you want, drink whatever you want (within the bounds of legality, of course), and generally take control of how you spend your time. You also get to make fast friends with those living nearby.

But all of these perks can be double-edged swords. With the newfound freedom of diet and schedule comes the opportunity for unhealthy habits, and the close living quarters you enjoy with fellow students can cause some nasty health problems. This post will cover a few common-sense tips you can follow to ensure that your intro to university life is happy and healthy.

Sleep

There's really no better piece of advice to give someone entering their first year of college or university than "sleep". There's an old campus adage that goes: "study, sleep and party... pick two". And while it might be tempting to let sleep fall to the wayside, a lack of shut-eye can cause your immune system to function poorly, cause your brain to perform inadequately and mess up your daily schedule.

Practice Proper Hygiene

Especially when sharing close living quarters with others, hygiene is of paramount importance. Wear flip flops in the shower to avoid toenail fungus, plantar warts and athlete's foot, and if you suspect you have a foot problem, a reputable foot clinic can help you nip the problem in the bud. Seemingly harmless foot conditions can morph into something more serious over time, so it's in your best interest - and the best interest of your cohabitants - to deal with the issue professionally.

Get Regular Exercise

Cafeteria food is... food. Unfortunately, it's as calorically dense as it is easy to get, and new university students, newly in charge of their meal plan, have a difficult time restraining themselves. That's where you get the "Freshman 15" cliché. While it might be difficult to eat healthily on campus, you can at least counteract the effects of this food by getting regular exercise. Not only will your body thank you, but studies show that memory and thinking skills also improve with regular exercise, so your grades will thank you too.

Take Care Of Your Mental Health

 Although bombarded by new experiences and new people, university can feel lonely. Furthermore, the new demands of your studies can be stressful, and homesickness can have you feeling down. Don't be afraid to talk with a counselor or get involved with a group on campus. And if you need to take a day off for yourself, let your profs know - they will more than likely be fine with it. As important as your studies are, your wellbeing is more important.

An extra to note here is the importance of drinking enough water to contribute to your health. Whether you had a long night of drinking the opposite of water, or just had a long day of classes, staying hydrated has a huge affect on your mental alertness. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to stay hydrated with quality water whether you are in your dorm room, or on the go.

University is an exciting time in your life, but as you transition into independence you have to learn how to stay healthy. With the recommended amount of sleep, some simple hygiene tips, regular exercise and respect for your mental health, the next four years will be as healthy as they are formative.

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