Diet and exercise
Regular exercise and a well-balanced diet are important – for both physical and mental health. Exercising and eating regularly are crucial to coping with the demands of student life.
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- Why is exercise important?
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- The importance of a balanced diet
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Regular exercise is important for physical health in many ways; for example, it reduces the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. In recent years, we have also started to understand the relationship between mental well-being and exercise. Overall, there are few things that can benefit the body and soul more than exercising.
As a student, you tend to spend large parts of the day being sedentary. At the same time, however, the flexible student life entails a great deal of freedom, which with the proper motivation can be used to look after your health.
Test your lifestyle with the Student Health Centre’s lifestyle tests
Take the opportunity to change your habits and discover the difference that physical activity can make to your well-being and intellectual ability. Start by taking our lifestyle test to see how healthy your current diet and exercise habits are. You will also receive personal feedback on your results during the process.
You can also take the test which focuses on physical activity and exercise. You will receive personal feedback on your physical activity based on your answers.
It may seem difficult to begin exercising, but motivational research shows that establishing a new habit is the most challenging at the outset. It will get easier over time. The positive effects on your mental health, on the other hand, are almost instantaneous.
The Student Health Centre has gathered some simple advice to help you get started.
- Set attainable goals. Make sure to set goals that you think you can achieve – we learn best from success.
- Find your own conviction and motivation. Ask yourself: what do I gain from being physically active? And how should I exercise to feel good?
- Remember that every minute you spend being physically active is better than none at all. One workout session a week amounts to 52 sessions a year!
- Find a type of workout that you enjoy. If you want to create a new lasting routine, it should be something that you want to do over a longer period.
- Remind yourself of the benefits of exercise when you struggle to get started. You can expect to have negative thoughts and feelings right before you start.
- Make exercise fun, plan to exercise with a friend or in a group and reward yourself when you are done. Our brains are programmed to conserve the body’s energy and to make the least effort possible. Therefore, you need to prepare yourself to feel that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages in as many ways as possible.
Exercising too much or too little is usually not a good idea. There are many well-trained instructors and personal trainers at most gyms who can offer personal support to help get you started.
Excessive exercise is commonly associated with a negative self-image and a destructive 'ideal' body image, and often leads to burnout, depression and other mental health issues.
Performance-enhancing drugs such as doping substances may sometimes be used in conjunction with excessive exercise. This could lead to an addiction resulting in both mental and social problems. You can always contact us for a consultation if you experience these problems.
Eating a balanced diet is crucial for you as a student to cope with student life and all that entails. Many students have a limited food budget and feel that they do not have the time or energy to carefully consider their diet.
However, failure to prioritise your nutrition could eventually cause problems. Not only through physical consequences, but also through a lack of energy for your studies and fluctuations in your mental well-being.
What to eat for good health
The food you eat should provide you with the energy and nutrients that you need. To learn more about eating habits and health, visit the NHS website for information and tips about what you should eat for good health.
Your brain needs food to function
Just like you need to eat well and exercise to perform, your brain needs energy to function. While this may be obvious for many, it is something that we tend to forget when we are rushing to finish a task. Remember to eat properly – even when you have a deadline approaching. It will help you perform better!
Does your relationship with physical activity make you feel so unwell that you experience anxiety and have difficulty coping with your studies? If so, please get in touch with the Student Health Centre so that we can support you.
Many people experience problems with their diet, exercise and body. This may include weighing more than is healthy or that, for various reasons, you have negative thoughts about yourself and your body.
Being overweight, which can develop into obesity, is a growing problem throughout the world. If you suffer from obesity, you have an increased risk of developing various conditions, such as heart attacks and diabetes. Despite the fact that these are well-known risks, many people find it difficult to change their destructive diets and lifestyles. However, sometimes, small changes are enough to break the pattern.
Information on being overweight and obesity on the NHS website
You can also get help by making an appointment with a dietician through your health centre.
If you have problems with negative thoughts about your body and what you eat, you could have an eating disorder. To learn more about the signs of eating disorders, what you can do and how to go about getting help, visit our webpage:
Problematic eating habits
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- The Real Happy Pill: Power Up Your Brain by Moving Your Body by Anders Hansen
- Eat Yourself Healthy by Dr. Megan Rossi