The key to living healthily at uni is making habits

Sticking to simple, easy changes should make you feel much healthier, happier and more active

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Image Credit: Piqsels


Image Credit: Pixabay

I've spent the last three weeks trying to be healthier, and they say three weeks is how long it takes to create new habits. I would argue that the key to being healthy is by building easy, simple habits that improve your diet, activity and sleep.

I’d like to start this article with a couple of disclaimers. Firstly, I am not qualified to tell anyone what is and what isn’t the case, this is just my personal experience. And secondly, I’ve only currently been trying to be healthy for a month. For all I know it might not last past next month, I’ll have to let you know.What I’ve discovered so far is as follows. You have to have a reason that is going to drive you to be healthy, because if you’re anywhere near as unhealthy as I was then, trust me, it’s going to be difficult. For me it was deciding to see how being healthier would affect my general mood, my psoriasis and of course for the vain reason of wanting to have a better body. So far, my psoriasis is fairly unchanged, and I’ve lost a little weight, however my mood is the big thing that has changed. I feel so much happier, and I’ve got more energy. Critically I have found myself seeing things through a more positive lens.

So, what exactly have I done, and why do I say that forming habits is the key to good health?The first step I took to try and be healthier was to try and remember to take my multivitamins.It’s recommended that  adults under 70 should get at least ten but up to 20 micrograms of Vitamin D per day. Because it is primarily gained from direct sunlight, during the darker months from October to March it is advised that all adults in the UK should be taking vitamin supplements.In my second year I had a huge deficiency, and trust me, it’s not fun. I constantly felt not just tired but fatigued. So just make it routine, wake up, get up, have a glass of water and your tablet.

Sadly, we can’t fix all our nutrient requirements with a simple tablet. Personally, eating healthily has been what I’ve found to be the most time-consuming bit of trying to be healthier. To make this slightly easier, I tried to implement a few rules I must eat my five a day I would snack on fruit instead of junk food and I wasn’t allowed to cook processed food. This part of my effort has been the most educational. Learning how I can overcome a mixture of busyness and laziness to ensure I’m always being healthy.

For example, I found that if I tell myself I’ll make a salad after I’ve cooked, I never do. I have to make it and eat it while I’m cooking. Or, for example, saying I’ll make my smoothie in the morning, despite the fact that I’m always running late in the morning. Instead I now make my smoothie the night before. And by drinking one of those, you’ve already had four out of your five a day, add in the salad and you’re at five. That means any fruit snacks during the day is just extra!

I’m not going to talk about maintaining good sleeping habits, because it’s the one area I’m still rubbish at. All I’ll say is that podcasts really help me to sleep, especially educational ones which aren’t particularly interesting, such as The History of Rome.

Finally, for my exercise I’m trying to go climbing at Red Goat twice a week. I have been going there for just over a year, but only about once every two weeks on average, so this is a big step up. At first it was painful, but now I’m really starting to enjoy the progress I’m seeing.

I think with exercise there’s a few key points. First, you have to do what you enjoy. Second, try to make it a routine, but also anytime you’re stressed exercise really helps get rid of any negative vibes, because it’s not strenuous, and very low stress. With the benefit of a covered pool on campus, and a few in town, it’s never been easier to start either.You can easily catch the bus from campus

.Finally don’t let yourself fall for silly stigmas and ideas that we construct. There’s a ridiculous notion surrounding the idea of getting fit that you need to be instantly knowledgeable about every aspect of the activities you’re doing. What I mean by this is that, personally I always thought that because I don’t know much about sports that if I ever tried to get involved people would somehow know I was a ‘fake:’ However the people I’ve met at bouldering are friendly, patient, and always happy to give me advice on my climbing technique.

It turns out that starting to get fit is easy. Getting involved with fitness is as easy as understanding that most people are delighted that you’re getting into their passion, and will probably be keen to help you learn about the sport too.  At the end of the day what I’m trying to say is that to be healthy you just need to find the motivation to start. Terry Crews, the actor and all-round wholesome human being,actually recommends showing up to the gym every morning to eat cake.Habits matter: once you start and you change your habits the rest will follow. Just find your reason and go!

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