Move your body!
How much time do you take for you each week? Adding physical activity into your schedule can be daunting at first. Physical activity not only helps to keep your body strong but it helps to keep you mentally strong, too! There are many ways to move your body - jump, dance, walk, stretch, and more.
As a busy college student, it can be challenging to take care of yourself and keep up with your courses. To perform at your best in the classroom, we also need to take care of our bodies.
Finding ways to incorporate physical activity, healthy eating, quality sleep and self-care in your daily life is important to maintain optimal physical health.
Learn more about strategies to maintain or improve your overall physical health:
There are some trusted, reliable online resources for finding out more information about STI prevention, testing and treatment. If you want to speak with someone on-campus to learn more about your own risk or to talk about testing and treatment, you can make an appointment with a provider at University Student Health Services or check out their Sexual Health Resources for some great online information!
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Park in the back of the parking lot when running errands
- Ride your bike or walk instead of driving
- Host walking meetings
- Find an activity that you love! Do you like to dance while doing cleaning? Go to the local park for a hike? Meet friends at the gym for a yoga class?
Physical activity can lead to:
- Better sleep
- Increased brain power
- Improves self-image
- Inspires others
- Improves mood
- Decreases risks of illness
- Increases flexibility
Practice Mindful Exercise
Mindful exercise is the concept of performing exercise with your full attention. This involves:
- Letting go of outside distractions and thoughts unrelated to your workout.
- Focusing on the movements your body is performing, your breathing, and how your body feels.
- Benefits of mindful exercise:
- Increase effectiveness
- Decrease risk of injury
- Increase your enjoyment of exercise
- Take several deep breaths, think about the activity you are about to perform.
- What are my goals for my weight lifting session today?
How long am I planning on running?
- Observe your environment, note possible distractions
- Is the weight room crowded? Do I have friends here who may interrupt my workout?
- Are there other runners out? What is the condition of the trail/road?
- Note your current mental and physical state
- Am I feeling ready for this workout? What is my current mood like?
- What’s my energy level like? Is my previous knee injury hurting today
- Concentrate on each movement.
- What muscles are you using? Feel your muscles contract and relax during each repetition.
- What is the rhythm of your running stride? Are you maintaining good posture?
- Observe your breathing
- Note the rhythm, pace, and level of exertion
- Pay attention to your body
- How does doing the exercise feel?
- Do you have any pain?
- Can you concentrate on your workout with the music you’re listening to? If not, consider changing the volume, genre, or skipping the headphones all together.
- Although doing the elliptical and watching an episode of your favorite TV show may help pass the time, mindful exercise is about quality, not quantity.
- Adjustments to workout
- If you’re really tired, you may be better off changing your planned routine to allow your body to rest.
- Circumstances beyond your control (i.e. a change in weather during your run, a crowded gym floor) aren’t worth stressing over.
- Stretch/cool down
- Take deep breaths and imagine you’re breathing directly into the muscles you’ve used for activity.
- Concentrate on your breathing and feel your heart rate return to normal.
- Assess the workout
- Did you achieve your goals for the workout? How do you feel both physically and mentally?
Sleep not only restores our bodies, it helps our brain synthesize information. A lack of adequate sleep can negatively impact our cognitive performances and our moods. It increases the risk of car accidents, weight gain, and heart attacks. Sleeping too much (e.g. 10-12 hours consistently) may be due to underlying issues with our physical or mental health. If you’re finding that you’re consistently getting very little or too much sleep, consider talking with a physician or counselor.
Tips for more restful sleep:
- The blue light from our electronics can keep us awake at night. We recommend powering down at least an hour before bed.
- Practice a mindfulness meditation before bed to ground you and manage intrusive thoughts or running lists.
- Try to avoid fatty meals, alcohol and/or caffeine close to bedtime.
- Try to be consistent about the time that you go to bed and time you wake up.
- Nap for 30 minutes or less - or more than 90 minutes. This can help you get a boost of energy to help get you through the day.
- Exercising for at least 20-30 minutes regularly has been shown to improve sleep and overall mood.
- Caffeine and alcohol in the afternoon and evening before bed can interrupt our ability to sleep
- Having trouble falling asleep? Get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel tired. That way, you only associate being in bed with being asleep (or with sex!).