It’s getting to that time of year again. It’s nearing the end of summer and we’re popping the summer bubble, getting ready to go back to school. In between catching up on summer reading and shopping for school supplies, it’s important to not forget about staying healthy with fitness and nutrition. Whether you’re returning from an active summer job, camps, or busy vacations, returning to back-to-school habits can be a shocking adjustment. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re living your healthiest self.Sleep
The biggest downfall for most people is not getting enough sleep. Even if you exercise frequently, eat a balanced diet, take a multivitamin daily, and drink enough water, you won’t be able to utilize energy our optimal energy potential without enough sleep. The average child or teenager needs roughly 8-10 hours of sleep a night while the average young adult or adult needs approximately 6-9 hours of sleep each night. Getting adequate rest will help improve focus when working or studying, improve performance when working out or playing a sport, and help maintain a healthy weight. To help get enough sleep, ensure a proper balance of work and relaxation. If you find yourself overwhelmed and unable to finish all of your obligations in one day, it might be beneficial to re-evaluate your priorities. Even if you sleep in late on weekends, you can’t “make up” for lost sleep during the week.Water
Although this may be one of the most popular topics discussed on healthcare and athletics, water intake remains the downfall of the vast majority of clients exercise physiologist see every day. Water helps the body to utilize vitamins and minerals, maintain body temperature, and absorb oxygen. Ideally, each person should consume half of their body weight in pounds of ounces of water. For example, a 150-lb person should consume 75 ounces of water. Begin each day by consuming a 10-ounce glass of water. This will start your day by regulating your metabolism and improving function of the brain and nervous system. Even if you sit at a desk for most of the day, your body still needs to replace water lost through sweating, breathing, and waste.Exercise
The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 30-minutes of cardiovascular exercise every single day to maintain a healthy heart and healthy lungs. Cardiovascular exercise will help improve oxygen consumption by each of your organs and increase utilization of the calories taken in by food. Even if you feel too tired to exercise, the exercise performed throughout the day accumulates to recommended amount. Walking your dog in the morning, going for a walk during your lunch break at work, PE class at school, or going for a bike ride after school or work are all healthy forms of cardiovascular exercise to perform throughout the day. In addition to cardiovascular exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends bouts of strength training three times per week to ensure proper balance, core strength, posture, and bone density.Diet
Thankfully, nutrition is one of the easiest things to control because you will always need to eat regardless of how much time you have in a day. The key is making the right choices to fuel your bodies to focus on work, school, and sports without feeling tired, sick, or sluggish throughout the day. A wide array of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lean meats provide vitamins and minerals to boost your immune system and maintain energy levels. Limiting sugar and saturated fats will prevent feeling sick, bloated, or exhausted throughout the day. Aim to eat 3-5 small meals every 3-5 hours to avoid feeling distractedly hungry and consume adequate calories. Eat a balanced breakfast, bring small healthy snacks, and pack a lunch including lean meat and fresh vegetables to stay healthy throughout the day.Happiness
As arbitrary as it may sound, happiness is actually important to a healthy school year. As mention previously, school, work, and planning your future is immensely stressful. You may put so much energy and focus on outside priorities, you may forget to take time and reflect on what makes you feel relaxed, comfortable, and secure. Take time each morning and night to meditate and clear your mind, spend time outside among nature, read a book, watch a funny movie, and spend time relaxing and having fun with loved ones. You may feel invincible now but finding a balance of work and happiness will prevent burning out down the road.For more help and information pertaining to a healthy school year, visit your local gym and consult an exercise physiologist. As always, stay healthy and happy!