Regional College Access Center

Health and Safety in College

College students are usually on-the-go, juggling many things such as studying, classes, clubs, sports, and doing fun things. Itís easy to lose sight of your own health with so many things going on, but if you ended up becoming sick, everything would be put on hold. Itís better to take care of yourself, so that you can continue to move forward in all the things you do. The following links will give you hints on various topics of health, including physical health, sexual health, personal safety, and mental well-being.

Health Basics:

This is by no means an exhaustive list on various ways to maintain your health, but if youíre able to follow these basic guidelines, youíll feel better for it. For more health advice, check out the links below!

Exercise!

Cardio is especially important, as it eases stress and increases your energy to get more done. Plus, itís great for your heart, and just about every other part of your body. Although the standard recommendation is to do 30 minutes of cardio five times a week, even just 20 minutes of exercise three times a week can yield great health benefits. Itís also instrumental in keeping the fabled freshmen-fifteen at bay! Make sure to stretch after each exercise sessionóit prevents achy muscles, and releases stress and tension.

Get Enough Sleep

Although for many college is a time that is well-known for late nights (for both studying and partying), too many sleepless nights can take a toll on your immune system, your mental functions, and emotional stability. Make sure that you get 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night to remain tip-top, and talk to your roommates about scenarios when your sleep schedules donít match. For all-nighters, it might be a good idea to take a one- to two-hour nap the next day to make up the difference.

Eat Plenty of Fruits and Veggies

Why are fruits and veggies so important? They have lots of phytonutrients, which protect from infection and disease, preventing you from getting ill. The less sick you feel, the more you can do and get done!

Mental/Emotional Health

Although physical health is important, many college students suffer from stress. Stress can come from: being bombarded with various school assignments, projects, and exams; responsibilities from clubs, organizations, and work; and from the pressures of maintaining relationships and a social life. Remember this: Itís very, very important to have time for yourself in order to remain calm and capable. Itís important to slow down. Many college students donít realize this fact until theyíve broken down in tears (itís happened, and is quite common).

Itís important to keep up with hobbies you love, have time for relaxation, and have time to reflect on where things are at and where you want to go. Reflection is the particularly important one because it allows you to get a sense of your progress, and whether youíre living a life that is consistent with your values. Write in a journal, or have heart-to-heart conversations with someone you trust every once in awhile.

Resources

This WebMD article provides comprehensive general health habit guidelines to follow to maintain a healthy body, and also includes an easy in-dorm workout that you can do at the end. http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/expert-strategies-staying-healthy-at-college

Like the link above from WebMD, this Huffington Post article shares some general health-habit guidelines that are good to follow. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/uloop/10-tips-to-stay-healthy-i_b_859195.html

Hereís a good reminder about health-related things that many college students often forget to pay attention to, but that are still important in keeping you in tip-top health. http://www.macalester.edu/currentstudents/stayinghealthy/

For those of you whoíd rather watch videos, hereís an all-in-one video resource on four important college health topics: Nutrition, Health, and Fitness; Healthy Relationships; Stress Management; and Responsible Drinking. Gwendolyn Francavillo, a Health and Wellness Coordinator from Gallaudet University, talks about the various aspects of each health category in short, easily digestible segments. http://www.monkeysee.com/Gwendolyn

Are you excited for college? Excited for the freedom to do what you want when you want? Just remember that with freedom comes the responsibility to protect yourself, as there isnít anyone who can watch and guide you all of the time now that youíre on your own. In this article, Dr. Phil discusses the various ways you can remain safe when youíre out at night, and the steps that you can take in the case of sexual assault. http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/570

Here are some important things to know when you are going about around campus. Part of the intro reads: ďIn the wake of sexual abuse scandals, hazing deaths, college shootings, and student abductions, it is important that you do all that you can to ensure that you are safe.Ē http://www.fastweb.com/student-life/articles/3423-safety-first-tips-for-staying-safe-at-college

Women are arguably very vulnerable when they go out at night, and this article lists actions and safety precautions that they can take to protect themselves. http://www.collegesafe.com/index.php/student-safety/top-ten-safety-tips-for-female-college-students

Hereís another list of tips for college goers to stay safe when they walk around campus at night, protect their electronics, and practice responsible drinking. http://myfootpath.com/colleges/college-life/college-life-safety/

Finally, stress is something that Americans deal with chronically, in higher levels than in many other countries. However, there are strategies to beat, or at least minimize, stress, and this article outlines a couple of them. Remember, if you take care of yourself and allow yourself to have breaks to do the things you want to do, you can avoid breakdowns, which happens quite often to many students. http://www.academictips.org/acad/stressreductiontips.html