Gaining independence from your parents and having complete control over what you do and when you do it (well, to a certain degree – you still
have to go to lectures) is one of the best things about going to uni.
But as Uncle Ben once said to Spiderman:
“with great power comes great responsibility…” and with no parents there to take care of you, it’s up to you to make sure you stay fit and healthy. Here’s our top tips for helping you do just that…
Watch What You’re Eating…
While pizza, Pot Noodes, and pints of beer are many a student’s diet staples, sustaining this type of diet full-time will likely make you pile on the pounds (unless you’re one of those lucky people with hollow legs). Ever heard of the ‘Freshers 5’? It refers to the weight (in KG) students are said to gain during their first year of
Not only that, eating nothing but junk will eventually turn your brain to junk, affecting your ability to concentrate and retain anything you learn in lectures.
We’re not saying that you should ditch fast-food forever… life would be no fun if you did, and we love a cheeky kebab here at Whatuni HQ just as much as the next person. It’s all about finding some balance - if you are healthy most of the time, a few ‘cheat days’ here and there won’t affect your body so much.
Try to start each day with a healthy breakfast (think porridge and fruit or eggs on toast) and try to pack in as much protein, healthy carbs, and veggies as possible during the day.
You might think that eating healthy doesn't go with a student budget, but eggs, bananas, frozen veg, wholegrain pasta and rice are all budget friendly and if you shop smart you can pick up some great deals.
Speaking of beans, are both cheap and healthy and appear in student vlogger, Mei-Ying Chow's new healthy recipe for Quesadillas. Here's the recipe:
2 tortilla wraps
1 red pepper
30g grated cheese (or vegan cheese)
A 400g tin of kidney beans
Half a tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
30g chopped coriander
Sunflower oil/any oil of your choice
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp soy sauce
A pinch of pepper
1 ripe medium avocado
1. Get a flatmate to open, drain and rinse the kidney beans whilst you dice the garlic and the
onion ready to be heated in a hot frying pan with some oil. This will caramelise within 4 minutes
2. Add the beans and spices to the pan and start smashing away using a potato masher,
whilst your flatmate cuts up the pepper and opens up the avocado
3. Move the avocado into a bowl and add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and a teaspoon of
soy sauce. Sprinkle with pepper and mash up with a fork to form guacamole to your taste
4. Once the beans are mashed into a consistency that resembles refried beans, spoon them onto two wraps laid out on your plate and sprinkle on the cheese and coriander. Now the pan is empty, add the peppers to fry until the skins soften and turns a little dark in some areas
5. Serve the peppers and guacamole while your flatmate places the folded wraps in a
half moon shape on the circular pan
6. Get your flatmate to lay the table and put out drinks while you cook the quesadillas and flip
them neatly so that both sides are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside
>> See more healthy recipes from Mei-Ying Chow and student living provider, Scape.
… And Drinking
According to a recent YouGov poll, 52% of students do not get drunk at all during an average week, so it looks like the stereotype of students as people who “work hard, party harder” is slowing becoming outdated.
However, even if you don’t get “drunk” each week, you could still be drinking more than is really healthy. The
is 14 units per week (for both men and women) – which comes to six pints of beer, or six glasses of wine, or seven double measures of spirits. recommend daily limit
While we don’t want to be seen as spoiling your fun, it’s worth at least keeping an eye on how much you are drinking each week and to make sure you aren’t regularly drinking more than the healthy limit.
Oh, and don’t forget: with good ol’ tap water, every hour is happy hour! Make sure you drink plenty every day– believe us, your skin (and your liver) will thank you for it.
Get Enough ZZZZZs
There are many benefits of
and experts say that you should get at least eight hours each night to allow that to fully happen. getting a good night’s sleep
If you are sleep deprived your immune system gets weak, leaving you open to getting ill. And it’s not just your physical health that’s affected, but your mental health too – lack of sleep can impair your memory and your ability to concentrate. It can also lead to low mood and depression.
Now, don’t get us wrong… we’re not suggesting you be tucked up with your teddy and hot water bottle by 9pm each night. But getting an early-ish night (say, before midnight) at least one or twice a week will really help you stay fresh and able to cope with all the pressures of uni life.
Get Your Heart Rate Pumping
As tempting as spending your free time watching Netflix is, spending some time outside getting your heart rate going will do will help you stay feeling fantastic when everyone else is succumbing to the dreaded fresher’s flu (or any other weird germs that are floating around your halls).
Not a gym bunny? The good news is that there are loads of ways to keep fit that don’t involve the monotony of the treadmill…
- You could join a sports club run by your university – not only will this boost your fitness, it’ll boost your social life too and help you meet new people. Check out who’s nominated for best Clubs & Societies in our
. Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2019
- Or why not go walking, jogging or bike riding with your flatmates? You could even set yourselves a challenge – after all, nothing seals a friendship like going through the hell of a marathon together.
- Finally, if you want to get fit and save some money too, then try walking to and from lectures or in to town when you go shopping.
Know Your Symptoms
You may have heard of the recent outbreak of mumps – a contagious viral infection - in Nottingham, with
in just a few days. over 220 cases reported
Well university halls, with hundreds of students (many with less than perfect hygiene standards) living so close together, offer the perfect conditions for nasty bugs like this spread.
Some illnesses, like colds and flu, are easily treatable with a few days under the duvet, however some illnesses like
and , Glandular Fever Mumps can be more serious. Meningitis
Now, while you shouldn’t panic-dial 999 every time you have a headache, it is important to brush up on your knowledge of these major student-illnesses so you know when to get yourself seen by a professional.
You should also make your own emergency first aid kit – for any little accidents that may happen. It should include basics like plasters, painkillers, cold and flu medication, tweezers, a thermometer, antibacterial wipes and indigestion tablets.
Register With a Doctor and Dentist
Talking of professionals... it makes sense to register with a doctor as soon as you get to uni, so that if and when you do get stricken down with anything nasty, you’re all sorted.
Doctors aren’t just there for when you’ve got a bout of tonsillitis – you can talk to them if you have any sexual health or mental health issues you need addressed too. Many universities have a GP practice on campus, but if not you can
search for a local one here.
People often neglect their dental hygiene (when was the last time you changed your toothbrush?), but doing so can lead to serious problems when you’re older.
Unless you are planning on going back to your parents on a regular basis, it might make sense to
too for any last-minute tooth emergencies. sign up with a local dentist
Between visits (which should be once every six months) make sure you brush twice a day, floss and use a mouthwash to keep your breathe fresher than you on your first day of uni. Minty!
Take Care of Your Mental Health…
Going to uni and being away from home is a big change – and it can be easy to become overwhelmed by it all. If you aren’t coping with the pressures of uni life, or are suffering with loneliness or depression, or perhaps an eating disorder – the key is to know you are not alone and that you
can get the help you need.
Mental illnesses amongst university students is on the rise. In 2015/16, over
in the UK said that had a mental health problem. In 2006, that figure was just 3,000. 15,000 uni students
In recent years, universities have increased their support services for students suffering with mental health, and while there is still a long way to go, help is out there if you are struggling to cope.
Want more advice on coping with mental illness at uni?
Head right this way…
…And Your Sexual Health
In a recent campaign to ‘Protect Against STIs’, Public Health England revealed that a young person is diagnosed with an STI every four minutes in England. They also reveal that 59% of people who got chlamydia or gonorrhoea in 2016 were
And another poll by
found that 58% of sexually active student have never been tested for STIs, even though 66% admit they’ve had unprotected sex. The Student Room
Again, we aren’t trying to spoil your fun here… we know that a big part of uni is getting to meet new people and form new relationships. But it pays to understand and practice safe sex.
The main problem with STIs like chlamydia, is that they are often symptomless, and can cause serious problems if left untreated - so it also pays to get tested on a regular basis.
Many universities have sexual health services as part of their wider student support services, so check out what they have to offer. You can also get free contraception, advice and resources from your doctor or from your
local Sexual Health clinic.
The three or four years you spend studying at university should be some of the best years of your life. You want to make the most of and enjoy every day of it. By following the tips we've given you here, you should be able to do just that.
Next step: More advice for living your best life at uni...