Well, it’s that time of year again, where students go back to that place devoid of sleep and nutrition: College! We’ve got a few tips so you can hopefully come home for the holidays with at least some of your health intact:
- BOOK STAND!
Here’s a great idea! Let’s sit crumpled up, and set a book or device flat on a table, so we collapse our head forward, putting tremendous stress on the vertebrae, discs, nerves and muscles of our neck! Yay!
Wait! No! NO! Do this instead:
- Set up your reading material so it is level with your eyes:
- Adjustable Music Stand
- Standing desk
- Book stand
- Even if all you’re working with is a desk at the library, you can still use other books to prop up your reading material.
- MICRO BREAKS!
Notice I said “micro breaks,” not “College Football Saturday” breaks, or “Binge watch the entire first season of Stanger Things” breaks. We’re talking 1-3 minutes here. Get up, do a few air squats, pass throughs, quick neck stretch, and then back into the trenches. It’s better to take multiple short breaks (1 minute every 15 minutes) instead of one long break after an hour or so. Research has shown that multiple shorter breaks lead to more productivity, and greatly reduces the negative side effects of sitting (disk destruction, cancer, and poor circulation).
Backpacks have made some leaps and bounds forward, but the problem is our posture has made leaps and bounds backwards. Your backpack may be have shoulder straps filled with angel-dust-air-cushions, but if your posture is making you look like a neanderthal man, it’s not going to do you any good. Try to get a backpack with a hip strap that can shift the load to your hips as opposed to your shoulders.
Your liquid diet should not consist of alcohol (at least not in the morning, for crying out loud). Smoothies to the rescue! Try to get a good combination of proteins fats, and a moderate to small amount of carbohydrates. You want a high quality protein source. Sadly, salmon doesn’t work well in smoothies (no amount of mango can disguise the omega 3 cologne of that awesome fish). Protein powders work great with smoothies, but YOU WILL NEED FAT IN ORDER TO ABSORB IT. Otherwise, that “high quality, micro-filtered” blah blah blah protein will end up in the bathroom, not in your body. Nut butters are a great way to get some healthy fats. Nut butters (peanut, almond, cashew, etc) will slow the carbohydrate release into your blood (e.g. sustained energy over along period of time). And, they taste awesome.
An additional note about protein powders: just because you eat it, doesn’t mean you’re body can use it. If your protein shake is making you bloated and/or causing you frequent/disgusting visits to the bathroom, your protein source is probably working against you. Also, fruit can be an awesome addition to your smoothie, but don’t go overboard. Although fruit has a lot of positive benefits, most fruits have a truckload of carbs/sugar, which can cause an energy boost at first, and then give you a blood sugar crash by the end of your first class.
- SLEEP, DAMN YOU! SLEEP!
I can’t stress this enough. YOU NEED SLEEP. Now, some annoying history major is going to say, “But Napoleon only slept for 4-6 hours of a day, and he conquered most of Europe.” Yeah, and guess what? Then he lost it all BECAUSE HE DIDN’T GET ENOUGH SLEEP. And, his hair was really greasy, which can happen when you don’t get enough sleep. Whether it is for brain power, athletic prowess, health, or all 3 combined, get some sleep.