By- Erica Cabán Morales
Many of the students from the University of Puerto Rico of Mayaguez (UPRM) live by themselves away from home to be nearer to the university. After several interviews with various students about their life away from home; it was clear that many do not know how to live a healthy life.
People do not understand the graveness of the situation and how their health is at risk. Nutritionist and Professor Mercado from the University of Puerto Rico of Rio Piedras said, “I feel always concerned for my students because they often don’t lead a very healthy life while in college.”
Most of the students admitted they do not have time to cook a proper meal and rest or do any exercise. These are important factors in life and college students tend to skip them. Foods they tend to eat are from chef Boyardee, Campbell’s soup, microwavable pizza, fast food and TV dinners.
There is a big population in college that does not know how to cook. The UPRM had an event called Cooking 101. What they did in this event was to teach cooking tips and how to prepare a quick meal.
“I cook every day I prefer something made by me than a boxed meal” said Cindy Agront, a UPRM geology student. But many don’t share the same perspective. On the other hand Antonio Salas, a Biology student said, “My diet depends on the day I might cook like once or twice in the week, like hotdogs or burgers.”
There are many simple ways to lead a healthier life. Being a college student is tough but there are ways that you can make it a little bit better and won’t affect your health. Below there are some pointers given by Professor Mercado in how to have a healthier life style.
Avoid junk food. Instead of potato chips and soda drinks try whole grain bars or 100 calories snacks remember to drink plenty of water. Cook simple meals like pasta and chicken. Avoid anything in a can and cheap TV dinners they are very saturated, have many preservatives and are very unhealthy.
Limit yourself while partying. Alcohol is very accessible to college students, take responsibility in your drinking. Avoid getting intoxicated; losing control, getting drunk could sometimes be fun for parties but also dangerous.
Don’t overload. By overloading yourself with a lot of responsibility, you can feel your stress level rising to the point you feel you will lose it. Students have to find a medium between classes, social life and others. Don’t take too many classes you might not be able to handle. Find something that entertains you and take breaks between studies. These small periods of stress relief will help you study later. Eat “brain food” while you study. A healthy snack like apples dipped in caramel or popcorn with a small amount of salt is nice when you get the munchies while studying.
Take time and exercise. You don’t really need a routine or actually go to a gym. There are many ways to get a little bit of exercise. Instead of the elevator take the stairs, they are not that bad. Park further. Walk if you can, instead of taking a car. Remember exercising helps you relax, relieve stress and helps you sleep better.
Sleep. Get the rest you need. Without a good night sleep you can get headaches, feeling of being tired and sleepy, disorientation, lack of concentration in studies. If it is hard for you to fall asleep remember to exercise, eat well and do some meditation. Everyone should sleep at least eight hours each night. Also remember if you ever drink any type of energy drink be careful not to mix it with anything that might cause a reaction. Professor Mercado added that a student from UPR of Rio Piedras died by mixing an energy drink with caffeine pills.
Enjoy the day. After leading this lifestyle you might feel an almost immediate change. You might feel more energetic, enthusiastic, focused and motivated. Get a chance to follow these steps so you can have a better college experience.
Students that often do the contrary, sometimes have a harder time in college. Between all the work they sometimes feel, tired, sad and overwhelmed by the work load. That’s why it is important to at least try all these different steps.
Professor Mercado also added, I am always here to help out those starting to be independent that want a clean feeling in their life. We have to take care of ourselves so we can succeed. Students seek ways to better themselves and this is a perfect way to start. Leading a healthy life style is not hard. It is important to always remember your health should come first. Think of it as getting better in college.