By Andreia Bulhao
Welcome back — or if you’re new to campus, welcome to the College! It seems like yesterday I had just kicked off my summer, and yet here we are again at the start of a new semester.
If you’re anything like me, summer is your prime time when it comes to health and fitness. It’s easy to get motivated when the weather is perfect and you want to avoid looking less than your best when you throw on a swimsuit. It can be much easier to maintain healthy habits when you’re back at home. Now, our schedules are filled with class, homework, time with friends and so much more that keeps us from maintaining summer workout and health routines.
The truth is, though, no matter how hectic our schedules seem, you can always find time to be healthy, if you really want to. Here are a few tips to stay motivated and in shape this fall:
Set an achievable goal. That doesn’t necessarily mean weight loss. Whether it’s shedding pounds, toning up or just maintaining a healthy lifestyle, defining the goal will help you stay on track. If you set out to keep up with a workout regimen that is both unrealistic or has no end point, you’re more likely to stop doing it. It might also help to set small goals that build off of each other, that way you’re constantly pushing yourself to keep going.
Don’t skip meals. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a reason! I know plenty of people who opt out of that first meal. I’ve done it in the past, too. But avoiding breakfast will not only cause you to lack energy at the start of your day, but you’ll also be more likely to fall into the trap of excessive snacking.
Find a routine that works for you. For me, I find I’m motivated to head to the gym in the morning and go about my day, but that might not necessarily work for you. Everyone has different schedules and needs, so its up to you to decide what works best for you. Once your routine is set, it’s easy to keep up with the good and healthy habits.
Sleep is your best friend. Being fit and healthy isn’t possible if you’re not well rested. If you’re sleep deprived, your metabolism won’t function properly, and it also affects your appetite. Lack of sleep can alter the effects of the hormones ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat, and sleep deprivation can increase this hormone to increase. On the contrary, leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, which decreases with sleep deprivation. Getting a good night’s rest will not only give you the energy to be active, but it will also make sure you don’t fall into unhealthy eating habits.
Friends and fitness can mix. Wanting to spend time with friends can’t be an excuse to skip a day at the gym when you add them to your routine. Find a gym buddy and kill two birds with one stone. Or, set up time with friends to do something active like playing a game of flag football or running the loop. Not only can you make staying fit fun, but you can also keep each other motivated and stay on track throughout the semester.