Time Management Tips for Getting Healthy Now
Drop the sugar
In the middle of finals week of my first semester of college, I noticed that I had started eating one-item meals from the nearest cafe in the form of bagels, cookies, and cakes. My rationale had been that these food items gave me the same sensation of being full as a full course meal from the dining hall. However, I did not realize that the reason for this was the sugar and the calories. Often and especially when you are hungry, it may seem like a good idea to consume something sweet because it is fast and filling, but even small amounts of sugar over a long time can cause health problems. Research shows that sugar does not contain any vitamins or essential nutrients, so while eating sugar may provide the body with calories, it can cause vitamin deficiencies.
Ginseng is the new coffee
Research has shown that coffee has health benefits and drawbacks, but it definitely has more drawbacks for adolescent, elderly, and pregnant populations. These groups may be more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease risk factors. In my experience, caffeine in general has a negative effect on me: I cannot sit still and I get headaches, and this is partially because I am still an adolescent. Quite a bit of businesses, such as Smoothie King, are offering an “energy” option that serves as a healthy alternative to caffeine. Others are offer ginseng supplements. In fact, various types of ginseng have been shown to improve memory and reduce stress as well as reduce fatigue.
Microwavables are not food
As a college student with late-night dining habits and not a lot of time, I have found that my shelves are stacked with microwavable food: non-perishable, quick and easy to make, and filling. Nearly every university has a nearby store that sells microwavable food, so it is convenient for college students to eat, especially when they have to study in their dorms for a big test. Microwavable food is not the only target for students low on time: fast food and nutrition bars are also frequently used. A study by Cornell University found that time scarcity, the sense of not having enough time, is a factor in poor food choices. As a result, students are at risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. An easy solution to this problem is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables to balance out the trans fats and added sugars. The same stores that sell ready-made pasta and soups sell packaged salads, as well. I’ve found that smoothies and juices such as Naked and Odwalla work for me. Although these products contain quite a bit of sugar, they are a healthier alternative to other foods.
Take breaks from the computer
When I went to a free eye screening at the optometry clinic in my university, one of the most helpful pieces of advice that I heard was “take breaks from the computer.” For school and work, students often have to spend more than three hours at a time using the computer. This can lead to computer vision syndrome, a condition marked by fatigue, strain, and blurred or double vision. To alleviate these symptoms, it is advised to reduce the brightness of the monitor, position the computer monitor as far away from yourself as possible (ideally 35-40 inches away) and about ten degrees below. Studies are in agreement that taking short breaks frequently improves productivity as well as eye health.
image credit to Kelsey Spriggs
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