You may come from high school thinking you have your health and fitness plan already established. However, removing prepared meals, courtesy of you parents, and extracurricular sports from your everyday routine may complicate things a bit. Taking care of your physical health in college isn’t as easy as coming home to a well-balanced meal or heading to practice after class.
Putting in some additional effort may be necessary to establish the fitness habits that work best for you. “Find that feedback, do your homework, be introspective and understand what you’re putting in your body. Thinking of [food] as fuel is a transition,” says Joel Ondercin, Interim Coordinator of Marketing & Communications for UW-Madison’s Division of Recreational Sports.
Ondercin believes there are a few easy ways to stay healthy in your first year of college and beyond. First off, Ondercin suggests that all new students take advantage of the RecSports facilities and gym membership paid for in their tuition. Why pay for a third party gym membership when you already have access to courses, equipment, and staff available through your university?
Getting involved is the easiest way to stay fit, according to Ondercin. Students can join intramural or club sports teams, go running or bike on Lakeshore path, or walk around campus. Simply find someone or some activity to connect with in your time at UW-Madison.
Another key aspect of being healthy is being introspective. Asking questions like “What am I eating” and “Why am I eating it?” can help you be more intentional with your eating habits. “Being opportunistic is part of being a college student…Everyday there is free [food] somewhere, but just because it’s free in cost, doesn’t mean it’s free in calories,” warns Ondercin.
Exercising this mindful approach to eating can even be applied when you’re eating at the dining halls. Here are some tips Ondercin has for eating healthy this year, whether you’re visiting Gordon’s, Dejope, or Rheta’s.