How do you keep healthy as a student? The answer to that lies in what we can consider the 4 pillars of good health: exercise, sleep or rest, stress management, and diet.
There is no lack of research that says exercise is good for everyone regardless of physical condition, age, or interest. Everyone can benefit from exercise. It builds strength, endurance, and increases blood flow to every part of your body including your brain. To obtain the advantages of exercise, team sports may have an advantage over solitary gym work. Engaging in team sports develops your overall physical fitness, as well as allows you to form friendships, learn camaraderie and teamwork. Gym work, on the other hand allows you to develop specific muscle groups.
2. Restful sleep
Experts say at least 6- 8 hours of restful sleep every night is the ideal for the body and mind to recharge. Notice how irritable and distracted you are when you get very little sleep? The ideal sleep is the kind that is consistent every night. If you pull an all-nighter now, you will not be able to compensate for it by sleeping 12 hours over the weekend. It just does not add up that way.
3. Stress management
A certain amount of stress is useful in your lives. It gives you the push to do things which you may not want to do, or makes you do things faster so you can meet deadlines. However, too much stress impairs memory and concentration. Manage stress by
Organizing your calendar, allotting enough time for studying, preparing for exams and presentations
Preparing in advance, and avoiding procrastination resulting to cramming
Uncluttering your personal surroundings – dorm, study area
Engaging in stress relieving activities such as meditation, spending time with your favorite person
Just like exercise, the importance of diet to good health cannot be over emphasized. Avoid too much sugary foods and drinks, foods saturated with transfats, too much caffeine and alcohol, to mention some.
Eating more calories that you can burn leads to weight gain and leads to cognitive impairment in later life, so watch those food portions.
In terms of specific foods that will help you in memory and concentration, you may consider the following
Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and cashews are believed to promote clear thinking.
Berries have lots of anti-oxidants which fight free radicals, which cause damage to cells, including brain cells. Blueberries top the list in terms of being the most powerful.
Omega 3 can be found in fish such as salmon, halibut, herring and mackerel. It can also be found in olive oil, flax seeds, beans and eggs. Omega 3 helps in making your thought processes faster.
Vegetables and fruits not only provide fiber that cleanses your system, but they also provide anti-oxidants which reduce cell damage. You can try eating more of spinach, broccoli, and fruit such as bananas, apricots, mangoes, cantaloupe, and watermelon. Spinach contains Vitamin E, and folate. Vitamin E is said to release dopamine which manages the flow of information in our brains.
Green Tea enhances concentration. Try green tea instead of your usual caffeine fix. Green tea is also a good source of anti-oxidants.
Chocolate, (surprise!), the dark variety is known to have disease-fighting flavenoids. Eating chocolate increases blood flow to the brain, thereby improving its function. But be careful to eat only a bite or two, as eating too much will make the disadvantages of eating this heavenly food outweigh the good ones.
Overall, try to go for as much variety in every meal to have a good chance of getting your share of important nutrients. So, remember these 4 pillars and incorporate these into your daily life to keep you healthy, and better able to meet the demands of school work.