College is a great time to venture out on our own, make new friends, and eventually find the perfect career. But it is also a time for pigging out in the cafeteria, fast food after midnight, and running on 2 hours of sleep. With a 20-something year old metabolism and a pretty active lifestyle, our bodies do their best to stave off these bad habits. But what happens after you graduate? As many young people are finding out, packing on the pounds gets pretty easy as we get older. Don’t worry, you have the power to prevent it! Here are a few tips for staying fit after graduation.
Identify bad habits.
It should go without saying that only a few hours of sleep and eating tons junk food are really bad habits. The first step to improving your health is identifying problems like these so that you can work to eliminate them. Do you do any of the following?
- Eat after 8 p.m.
- Drink more than two cups of coffee in a day
- Regularly drink more than two alcoholic beverages in a day
- Smoke cigarettes or cigars when you socialize
- Eat meals at different times every day
- Wake up at a different time every day
- Binge watch television for more than an hour at a time
We pick up a lot of these bad habits while we’re in college. Some of them are eliminated when we graduate, but others can persist and become real problems. Social smoking, for example, is how many nicotine addictions start. Especially after college when socializing becomes less frequent, the urge to light up can grow stronger and before you know it, you’ve become a smoker. Any of these habits can be damaging to your health and need to be moderated or eliminated if you plan on staying healthy after graduation.
Get adequate sleep.
The sleeping schedule of a college student can be more erratic than that of a newborn baby. Some people are able to shake the bad sleeping habits after college, but others might struggle. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day is an easy way to start a healthy sleep routine. Even if you don’t have a job that requires you to do so, this will help your body get into a rhythm and know when it’s time to be tired and when it’s time to be awake and alert.
To help with this, it is a good idea to tune out the technology before bed. Don’t fall asleep with the television on, don’t browse on your laptop before bed, and don’t listen to loud music too late. If you can do this, you’ll be able to fall asleep at or near the same time every night and be rested for the next day. Getting adequate sleep will not only help with your energy level, but it will contribute to your overall health.
Get into a fitness and nutrition routine.
The most successful health goals need to be centered around a routine. You will find that it’s easier to maintain your health goals by exercising and eating at the same time every day. That’s not to say that you can’t vary your routine and mix it up sometimes, but starting out, your body needs consistency to develop good habits. If you have a job after you graduate, working out either before or after work is a great habit that is easy to stick to. Once you find what works for you, it will get easier. Adults should exercise three to six times per week.
Just like getting into a sleeping routine, getting into an eating routine is important too. This will keep you from having cravings throughout the day. As far as the meals themselves, toaster pastries and Ramen aren’t going to cut it if you’re planning on staying healthy after graduation. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a master chef to cook a healthy meal. Here are a few simple healthy recipes that anyone can make.
Graduating from college and starting your adult life is exciting! Just remember not to neglect your health and fitness. The habits you form after you graduate are habits that could stick with you for the rest of your life. Now is the time to decide how you are going to work to stay healthy!