How to stay healthy in First Year

Image Credit: University of York

From Willow to the Great Yorkshire Outdoors (or at least to the Quiet Place!)

Image Credit: University of York

Now you might be sitting smugly, congratulating yourself for getting through your first term. You beat off that Freshers’ flu with Berocca and multi-vits, but you know deep down, you can’t keep this up. As well as trying to avoid putting on that dreaded freshers’ stone, eating healthily can help you to maintain your energy levels as the work piles up – although we can’t promise it will get you to the dreaded 9 o’clock lectures.

Dr Christian Jessen (that hunky guy off the telly) is always going on about ditching public transport in favour of your own steam. But to be honest, he actually has a point. Cycling and walking are cheap ways of keeping fit and ultimately it will save you a lot of money. Don’t underestimate the value of getting a bit of fresh air and sun, and no we don’t mean that 10 minute wait at Oki’s when you have just stumbled out of Willow.

It’s now common knowledge that Vitamin D is vital for your health and happiness. As little as 10 minutes of sunlight a day gives you all you need, but let’s be honest, this is the grim North. Even if you aren’t rushing to lectures, get yourself outside.It’s a form of procrastination if nothing else. Go for a walk in the fields, get your friends together and take a trip to the Moors. In summer – though that seems a long way off! – take a trip to the beach. Yes, we are near a beach, as weird as that may seem as we shiver across Vanbrugh Bridge.

They say that in your time at university, you can only pick two out of work, sleep and social life. However, keeping yourself fit and well can help you to make the most out of every aspect of your time as a student. This cliche of really busy students who get no sleep and have perpetual hangovers may be true of a few of us, but there is a way to balance your studies and your sleep and manage to get a few trips to Willow in. You’ll hear time and time again that this year doesn’t count, and it’s true – Freshers’ year is all about acclimatising to the university experience and seeing which societies you like, finding friends and your feet in a new place. Having plenty of sleep and a balanced diet will help lower your stress levels and have more energy to party later on. Don’t be like that Langwithian last year who ended up getting scurvy. Grim.

Times of quiet reflection, outside, or even a nice little jog, can do wonders for your mental health and wellbeing. It’s repeated in student media time and time again but the fact is that exercise is one of the most effective ways of tackling depression – and students unfortunately have a surprisingly high rate of mental health issues. Talk to a friend, or Nightline, go on a walk or a jog or just sit on a bench in a quad and watch the world go by, or go to a beer garden somewhere and enjoy the beautiful place in which we live!

Beyond Baked Beans

We know, takeaways and fast food are a quick solution to those hangover hunger pangs, but convenience food doesn’t have to be unhealthy. So we’ve come up with a few modifications that satisfy your cravings without expanding your waistline.

Replace white bread with brown, and white pasta with wholewheat – sounds like old news but to make your bap white the flour is bleached with chemicals which, if swallowed whole, can actually kill you!

Swap those chicken breasts for turkey – not only is it considerably cheaper but turkey is also leaner, containing 1/5 of the fat of its slightly more attractive counterpart.

Ditch tinned soup in favour of cartons – the tins may last longer but the preservatives that make that happen aren’t very good for you.