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June SPSPotlight: Diet and Exercise

Diet and Exercise

By Jamie Graham, M.A. (and formal personal trainer)

The average graduate student is often swamped with work and pressed for time. When students are under a lot of stress, exercise and good nutrition are the first things to go out the window. Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle during grad school.

1. Prep food on the weekend. Spending an hour or two on the weekend chopping fresh veggies and fruits will make it easier to throw together healthy meals during the week. Meal preps will also allow you to use healthy ingredients and limit portion sizes.

2. Avoid bad habits like skipping meals. Skipping a meal can throw your metabolism off kilter and even change your sleep patterns. The smart strategy? When there is no time to sit down and enjoy a full meal, have an emergency snack supply of healthy food. Some possibilities include fresh fruit, unbuttered popcorn, or pretzels. This way you won’t be tempted by french fries, chips, or vending machine candy.

3. Drink lots of water. Keep your water bottle handy during the day (e.g., in your car, at your desk, or in your bag). Chances are you’ll drink water more often when it’s right in front of you.

4. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine and stick to it. Exercise should be treated like any other concrete appointment that shouldn’t be skipped. A regular workout plan can help to improve your mood and boost your self-esteem. Additionally, exercise is a great way to release and lower stress levels.

5. Exercise while watching TV. When deciding between watching another episode of Game of Thrones or hitting the gym, it’s often much easier to press “Next Episode”. But you actually don’t need to choose one or the other. Do bodyweight exercises such as lunges, crunches, or pushups while your shows are on.

6. Find a fitness buddy. Stay motivated with the help of an exercise partner. Fitness buddies provide support, healthy competition, and accountability. Having a reliable fitness buddy can also help you achieve and maintain your fitness goal.

7. The next time you catch up, take a brisk walk. There are many benefits to walking at a fast pace with friends. Not only will you be socializing, but you will be contributing to your health and longevity. 

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