With 1,000 things on your to-do-list, it’s hard to find time to make healthy living choices. But what if you swapped out 30-minutes surfing the internet for a jog around campus with a friend? Eating healthy and working out benefits your body and mind long after the latest internet star has fallen.
To highlight the ways that healthy choices can be easy choices, FIU will celebrate Healthy Campus Week from Sept. 19 – 23, with partners from around the university.
“This initiative doesn’t belong to just one department or area,” said Mariela Gabaroni, associate director of Health Promotion Services. “Staying healthy is a choice that people make throughout the day – from what they eat first thing in the morning, to choosing how close or far they’ll park from class or the office, and whether or not they make exercise a regular part of their routine. Simple things like taking the stairs over the elevator or drinking water instead of a soda does make a difference.”
Here are 5 easy ways to incorporate healthy choices into your schedule at FIU:
- Walk or jog around campus. If you’ve ever trekked through campus late to class or a meeting, you know what a workout this can be. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a 3-mile run, you can make this workout your own. Wellness and Recreation – MMC gives you various routes and distances on its jogging and walking path map. BBC also sports a running and bike path that runs parallel to Biscayne Bay.
- Know how much you’re eating. With so many delicious options on campus, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of calories we’re consuming at every meal. Panther Dining makes it easy to track with its nutritional guides. If you’re eating at Fresh Food Company, you can build your meal ahead of time to understand the exact calorie count, fat content and sodium each dish contains. Students who need help making a healthy meal plan can get free counseling with a registered dietician.
- Exercise at the Wellness and Recreation Centers. If being outside isn’t your thing, head to the Wellness and Recreation Center at your campus and take a group fitness class (free to members – students are automatic members). From Zumba to Piloxing, there are tons of classes each day. Plus, students also get free fitness assessments which measure your body mass index, resting heart rate, blood pressure, strength and endurance, and cardio fitness.
- Take time to relax. It sounds counterintuitive when you have a 3,000-word research paper due tomorrow, but taking a moment to pause is actually what you need! According to the American Psychological Association Stress in America Report 2013, stress affects the entire body and can cause other problems like headaches, increased heart rate, weight gain and muscle tension. HeartMath is a new app based program that helps individuals learn new stress management techniques through the use of breath and visualization. Using a HeartMath sensor along with the visualization on the app, you can see the effects of deep breathing on your body. The program is currently available at Counseling and Psychological Services without an appointment.
- Stay hydrated with H2O. On the way to class you may feel like you’re losing in the battle of heat versus man. Make a stop at a number of hydration stations around campus to re-energize and take a sip. Our bodies are composed of about 60 percent water, so staying hydrated keeps things running smoothly. Digestion, circulation and transportation of nutrients all rely on water to get the job done. Water also powers muscles, will improve your skin and may help control overeating. Dehydration can not only make you feel dizzy, but it drains your energy and makes it hard to focus.
As part of Healthy Campus Week, students can also participate in several events throughout the week to learn more about healthy lifestyles, get free goodies and try new services. Keep an eye out on FIU social media for contests, too!
In November 2014, FIU was one of 19 nationwide universities to join the Healthy Campus Initiative, in conjunction with the Partnership for a Healthier America. The initiative aims to make campuses healthier providing healthier food and beverage service on campus, encouraging physical activity through facilities and programs, and implementing an integrated, comprehensive wellness program for individuals on campus.