5 Tips for a Healthy School Year

Britta Winans

Health and fitness is important to any college student, and the University has many resources that students can, and should, utilize in order to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. The simplest foods and methods of exercise can help students stay healthy and feel great for the whole year. Students should try these five simple health tips in order to stay in tip-top shape, maintain a healthy diet and, most importantly, perform well in the classroom.

Tip No. 1 is to eat blueberries. An article in the September 2 edition of Science Daily News reported a study conducted by the Université de Montréal highlighting the promising effects that blueberries have on fighting obesity and diabetes. Not to mention, blueberries are some of the most natural antioxidants you can consume.

Where can these fantastic berries be found on campus? Fresh blueberries are usually offered at the Pit and Spit on a daily basis. Blueberry crunch muffins are offered in all of the Holy Grounds on campus. Muffins, however, generally have about 400 calories each. There is also a Blueberry Blast smoothie offered at the Energy Zone!

Speaking of the Energy Zone, tip No. 2 is to take a trip to the Freshens counter located in Connelly Center. Opting for a smoothie instead of a cup of coffee will result in an energized and crash-free day. The Energy Zone offers dairy-free, all natural choices that come in a variety of flavors. There are nutrition facts located on the counter so you can look up exactly what you are putting into your body. Smoothie No. 15, the Açai Smoothie, is the healthiest choice for a Freshens beverage. This Brazilian berry is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. The açai berry is nourishing for the human body and will provide long-lasting energy throughout the day. The Energy Zone also uses 100 percent compostable cups, adding to Villanova’s ‘committment to sustainability.

Every student, on or off campus, knows where the Davis Center is. But, does every student use it? Tip No. 3, go to the gym! It doesn’t matter if it’s the Davis Fitness Center or the gyms located on South Campus in Stanford and West Campus in Farley, students should get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. This may seem like a daunting task, due to hectic schedules and workloads, but doing some kind of physical activity should not be a choice: it is imperative. This workout does not just have to be cardio. It is a common misconception that a workout means running on the treadmill or using the elliptical. The biggest mistake a person can make is to form a workout plan and not incorporate any weight lifting into it. When a person works out they are burning calories, fat and muscle. When muscle is lost, your body becomes less efficient at burning fat. According to Shape Magazine, an hour of weight lifting is equivalent to an hour of cardio. Soreness is increased after a lifting session as compared to a cardio session. Sore muscles are continually burning fat and calories while they go through the rebuilding process. The best kind of workout should incorporate both lifting and cardio.

The Davis Center offers 40 cardio machines, 25 lifting machines and two full racks of free weights providing options for any student to customize his or her own workout. There are also two personal trainers available at the Davis Center so students can receive the best advice available in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Besides the gym, another option is to run outside and enjoy the gorgeous weather while it lasts. The area surrounding campus is very scenic and offers a variety of running routes. Tip No. 4, run outside! From the Davis Center to Acme, located on East Lancaster Avenue, and back is a total of four miles. Starting from the Davis Center, run towards Lancaster Avenue and turn left; Acme is located two miles up the road. Running around the perimeter of Villanova is two miles; this does not include West or South campuses. From Villanova to Haverford College, also located right off of East Lancaster Ave., and back is a little more than five miles. All of these running routes have sidewalks and street lights, providing safe routes and a great run.

Last but not least, tip No. 5 is to visit the Food Source grocery store. Eating organic foods is a smart and alternative way to stay healthy and to better avoid certain health risks. Similar to Whole Foods, Food Source offers an array of organic foods and choices to feast upon that cannot be found in any of the cafeterias. The store, located on the Main Line right next to Acme, has a large salad bar and delicious trays of local and exotic foods prepared by renowned culinary chefs. The prices are very reasonable and they accept WildCard.

Whether it is Villanova itself or the surrounding area, there are numerous options that you can choose from in order to have a healthy college experience. Eat some blueberries, grab a smoothie, lift some weights, go for a run and try something organic! Follow these five simple tips and stay nourished, energized and free of the “freshman five.”