A new (academic) year brings new year's resolutions, and as always most pledges revolve around a healthier existence. For students a wholesome lifestyle is crucial: health problems are detrimental to achieving academically and socialising with friends. Staying mentally and physically fit is easier than you think, despite limited time and budget.
Eat healthily: Eating fast food once in a while won't kill you, but food-wise you should aim for a balance between the good, the bad and the ugly. Some tips: limit sugar intake, snack on fruit instead of candy bars, drink plenty of water, eat breakfast, choose salad over fries.
Exercise: Exercise is key in staying physically and mentally fit. It reduces stress levels, releases endorphins which help you relax and aids you manage weight-gain. No time to exercise? A 45-minute walk after or in between classes is enough.
Get enough sleep: Not getting enough sleep impedes your ability to concentrate, thus on your overall academic performance. Insufficient sleep also compromises one's immune system in the long run.
Watch the booze: Too much alcohol can have serious social, academic and health consequences, particularly if you’re getting drunk regularly. Think unwanted pregnancy, STDs, violence, liver cirrhosis and other serious illnesses. If you drink, drink sensibly. Never drink and drive.
No smoking: Smoking causes lung cancer and heart disease, makes you age prematurely, increases infertility risks, makes your teeth yellow, causes bad breath, decreases bone density - among other things. Last but not least, smoking is expensive. A 1-pack-a-day habit easily sets you back R13 000 annually.