HEALTHY HABITS: Five tips for students to ensure an energized, illness-free semester

Torrey Perkins/The News Kelsey Huelsmann, sophomore from Trenton, Ill., gets a salad to help her achieve her New Year’s resolution to stay healthy.
Torrey Perkins/The News Kelsey Huelsmann, sophomore from Trenton, Ill., gets a salad to help her achieve her New Year’s resolution to stay healthy.

Torrey Perkins/The News
Kelsey Huelsmann, sophomore from Trenton, Ill., gets a salad to help her achieve her New Year’s resolution to stay healthy.

With the temperatures steadily dropping, a decrease in daylight hours and a full schedule to maintain, students may find it difficult to manage their energy and health levels as they go about their daily tasks.

Luckily, staying energized and healthy requires similar precautions that make it easier to remember.

As children, students may have been taught that keeping their hands washed would prevent them from getting most common illnesses. However, as adults, they’ve discovered that it takes more than soap and water.

According to the Center for Disease Control’s website and the pamphlets available at Health Services, there are more ways than one to stay energized and healthy this semester.


Hand Washing

Using antibacterial soap to scrub hands under warm water for at least 20 seconds has always been an important rule for health. By doing so, a person is eliminating most of the harmful germs and bacteria that could have accumulated throughout the day.

“Most people believe antibacterial gels are OK substitutes,” said Tyler Slack, senior from Madisonville, Ky. “But there is nothing better for your protection against harmful, everyday bacteria than washing your hands with warm, soapy water. So, I absolutely believe in this (tip).”

Also, make sure to use a tissue or the inside of the elbow when coughing or sneezing in order to combat spreading more germs.


Fresh air and staying warm

Fresh air can be beneficial to maintaining energy as it allows a person to breathe in natural air that has not been filtered by dehumidifiers or circulated by air conditioners.

“I make sure to spend as much time as I can away from heavily trafficked and congested areas,” Slack said. “Fresh air does make a significant difference to me but I also notice a significant difference when my home is well-ventilated.”

However, in the winter months, going outside may be difficult to do on a regular basis. Layer clothing and keep facial features covered from the wind.


Manage stress and exercise

Managing stress levels will keep the body from overworking itself. With class, stress can have a major impact on a student’s health. Organizing daily activities into a time schedule or a list can help erase worry.

Include time to laugh. Laughing can improve mood and eliminate stress.

Read a funny book or watch a comedy.

Making time for oneself to relax and enjoy the day are ways of managing stress.

“Laughing literally burns calories,” said Cameron Bishop, sophomore from Taylorsville, Ky. “Having a good mental health and emotional health are huge parts of your overall physical health.”

Exercising can be a way to focus unwanted stress levels on something more active.

Although it may seem that exercising would use up energy and make doing anything impossible, it replenishes energy levels if done periodically and carefully.

Don’t have time to go to a gym? A brisk walk to class can be just the thing to get the body going.


Drink water and eat healthy

Water intake is important for the body to regulate itself. Sodas are the preferred choice among most young adults, but they take a massive toll on energy levels and the way the body operates.

“Water is what makes your body run,” said James Murphy, freshman from Belleville, Ill. “It maintains the balance of the bodily fluids and aids in the function of important body processes. It also helps keep hunger under control.”

This is also true about the foods that are consumed throughout the day. Fast food and other processed items will keep the body going but the effects are sluggish and harmful.

Replacing one candy bar a day with a small bag of nuts or swapping a bottle of Dr. Pepper for a water will make all the difference in the way a person feels.

“Your body needs the right amount of nutrients or else it won’t function as well as it should,” Murphy said. “Small meals with a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and vegetables around every three hours every day will keep the body’s metabolism up and you’ll have constant energy.”


Visit the doctor

Regular checkups are recommended. Even though a person may not be sick, it is still a good idea to make sure the body is running smoothly.

Visiting a doctor will allow them to discover more ways to keep yourself healthy and energized.

With these five tips, staying healthy and energized throughout the cold season is possible. As long as a person takes care of themselves, it should continue to run at full speed.


Story by Katrina Yarbrough, Staff writer