However stale it might be, to all freshers, I say, welcome to the University of Ibadan! The first and the best. To the stalites and finalists, the more appropriate welcome message would be “Aluta Continua!”
It’s a continuation of the first semester after the eight-month-long strike, a new chapter in our respective educational journeys. For some of us, this means a drastic change in environmental conditions and lifestyle, while for others it means the struggle continues. Whichever category you fall in, one thing is certain: living and staying healthy at the university could be as arduous as it gets. And when I say healthy, I’m not just referring to your physical well-being or the absence of diseases. In fact, this is only an aspect of health. Being healthy is a much more encompassing and holistic concept, hence it is best defined as a state of physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being. This definition is the reason some people argue that nobody is a hundred percent (100%) healthy and for students in a university, especially at the University of Ibadan, the figures could get really low.
With the stress of rushing to classes, working on and submitting assignments, and battling to meet up with tight schedules and deadlines, students find it hard to strike a balance with all the aspects of their health. The myriad of social and academic obligations of university life plus the very variable schedule is enough to wreak havoc on any student’s diet, sleep pattern, exercise regimen, mental stability, and general health. However, there’s no gainsaying that staying healthy is a major factor in successful academic performance. So, in light of this, here are a few tips for staying healthy at the university:
Despite being obvious, the importance of a balanced and adequate diet for optimal health cannot be overemphasized. Then again, one of the biggest changes that come with university life is the way you eat. Students tend to indulge more in junk food in place of whole meals and skipping meals may become a habit. All these detract you from your overall health whereas adopting healthy eating habits ultimately puts you on the road to increased physical well-being, cognitive performance, and overall immunity. Also, eating healthy does not mean you have to break the bank, what it takes is proper planning.
What You Eat is As Important As When You Eat It
Between classes, assignment deadlines, and exams it can be really difficult to plan a regular meal schedule. But then again, the benefits are worth the effort. Remember to eat breakfast, it kickstarts your metabolism and provides a boost of energy throughout the day. Avoid midnight snacking and do not binge eat to fight stress.
Watch What You Drink
There are four types of beverages that can have an impact on your health: alcohol, soft drinks and soda, caffeinated drinks, and water. Alcoholic drinks contain empty calories and no nutritional value whatsoever. A single shot of vodka contains as many as 100 calories! Apart from lifelong health challenges and adverse physical effects, the excessive consumption of alcohol also impairs your ability to absorb nutrients and burn fat over time.
Soft drinks, sodas, and sweetened juices cause unhealthy weight gain and slow down digestion. They contain high levels of sugar and their diet equivalents simply substitute sugar content with chemicals that are just as toxic for your system. The best rule is this: sodas and soft drinks should be a treat, not a habit. Also, watch your caffeine consumption too. Some students rely on outrageous volumes of caffeinated drinks to keep them awake during testing times, pun intended. Once tests and exams start beckoning, caffeine intake among students rises drastically. Caffeinated drinks like coffee are often dehydrating, distort sleeping patterns, and reduce the quality of sleep. Make sure you take plenty of water. Staying hydrated is essential to maintaining general health and energy levels, and helps to control your weight and appetite, improve your skin, flush your system, and improve your quality of sleep. Try to drink a glass of water every hour and before each meal.
It’s easy to lead a sedentary lifestyle at the university. What do you do in a lecture hall? You sit. What do you do in the library? You sit. What do you do in the cafeteria? You sit. While university seems to require a lot of sitting, it is important to be active in order to stay healthy. Try to squeeze an exercise regimen into your schedule no matter how busy it is. Also, exercising does not necessarily mean ripping muscles in Indy’s gym. A little stroll, jogging, or stretching are some of the many creative ways of availing yourself of the benefits of exercising. Exercising translates into better sleep and cognitive performance. Regular exercise can also strengthen immunity and ward off the common cold.
The benefits of adequate sleep for university students are innumerable. From equalizing blood pressure to ensuring mental clarity, quality sleep is one of the major factors in staying healthy on campus. It is a pity though that students sacrifice their sleep on the altars of night plans, Wi-Fi usage, and sometimes TDBs. The bottom line is: to get enough quality sleep; it refreshes the brain and increases immunity.
Clean Your Living Space Often
Cleaning your living space regularly is a good habit to get into. Little things like cleaning your surfaces, tables, floors, and ceilings can go a long way in keeping your living space sanitary. Be sure to maintain proper personal hygiene too.
The session has begun and soon the academic heat will be on, trust UI for that. But in the hustle and bustle of academics, try not to forget to take care of your health. Not only your physical wellness but also your mental well-being which is just as paramount. Good luck.