how to stay healthy
Knowing how to stay healthy takes more than just getting a balanced diet or sufficient sleep . Source: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Figuring out how to stay healthy while studying abroad is no easy feat. This is especially true if you’re surrounded by so much good food and little time to hit the gym.

Gaining weight as a student happens more commonly than you would like to believe. The “Freshman Five” refers to the five kilogrammes that first-year students often gain. 

With so much going on, from assignments to making new friends, college can be a time of decreasing physical activity and it can be harder to keep up with your own health too.

Coupled with the stress eating and drinking, pounds are put on quickly. 

Although studying abroad is a change that needs adjusting to, it shouldn’t mean compromising your health. 

Knowing how to stay healthy takes more than just getting a balanced diet or sufficient sleep. It requires consistent effort and being mindful. You need to build a routine that you can consistently stick to.

This can include waking up 30 minutes earlier than your usual time and doing some simple stretches. Or even just making a quick breakfast. 

How to stay healthy: 4 of the best free ways for students

how to stay healthy

Learning how to stay healthy is a force of habit. Starting small by setting a routine can take you far. Source: Mark Makela/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

1. You are what you eat

Knowing you are what you eat is arguably the most crucial part of learning how to stay healthy. 

You may not realise this but our bodies and minds are interconnected. That means when your gut is under stress or inflamed, you may feel more tired, less focused, and easily irritable. 

How do you avoid this? Start by minimising red meat, dairy, and other fried and processed foods.

Instead, try cooking more. The easiest thing you can make from home is a bowl of salad.

Throw in some kale, lettuce, a half-boiled egg and you’ve got a quick meal to go. Explore other simple on-the-go healthy recipes here

Feed your body, feed your brain and see how much difference it can actually make to your overall health and energy levels. 

2. Letting your emotions out

Did you know ignoring your feelings can be bad for your health? Research has found that it can lead to heart disease, intestinal problems, headaches, insomnia and autoimmune disorders.

So, the best thing you can do for your health is to acknowledge the emotions you’re feeling.

Next, learn to release them in healthy ways. This includes crying it out, journaling, screaming into a pillow or just singing your lungs out. 

Bottling up all your feelings and letting them fester won’t do you any good.

3. Foster a furry friend

how to stay healthy

Fostering an animal is great for your overall psychological well-being. Source: Sam Panthaky/AFP

Love animals? Why not foster a furry friend! Research has shown how pet therapy leaves an extremely positive impact on our psychological health.

Purdue University found a 43% reduction in a physiological indicator of anxious activation in its students with animal therapy.

Fostering a pet comes at little to no cost as most rescue societies would cover all food and vet costs. What’s left for you to do is to show your little friend all the love you can offer. 

This is a reminder that part of learning how to stay healthy goes beyond just exercising to get your physical body moving. Having a healthy mind is crucial to maintaining your overall health.

4. YouTube workouts

There are plenty of workout videos on YouTube. From cardio kickboxing to HIIT sessions, there’s something for everyone.

Most research recommend two to three workout sessions per week.

Try and aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity every week, along with strength training twice a week.

Check out this easy 10-minute morning workout you can do from your dorm room.