EAT healthy, SLEEP enough, RAVE a little, REPEAT

Cover Story

“I’m too tired, I don’t have the time to do it, I rather stay in bed and watch Netflix” These are only a few of the thoughts that goes through your head when you are wondering whether to do some exercise or not. “The dishes need to be washed, I have to clean the toilet” It is so easy to come up with reasons why not to get out and exercise, even though you know that there are important and valid reasons why you should. Especially now as a student, you should include at least some kind of exercise in all of your days; it helps you not only to stay in fit, but also improves your mental health and gives you energy.

— People don’t seem to realize all the positive effects exercising has to their lives. Too often it is considered to be just about getting and staying in shape, when actually it is so much more, says Saija Ahola, a physiotherapist and a personal trainer in Aktiivikuntoutus. -Exercising plays a huge role in our vitality, she continues. — There has been a fitness hype going on and everybody seems to be pursuing a career as a fitness model or a body builder, but that is not what you have to be doing when exercising, not at all. You can go to the gym or play sports, go jogging or swimming, try geocaching, do whatever feels comfortable! The main thing is that you actively take care of your body and enjoy doing it, she adds.

“Yay, another party coming up! Still hungover from yesterday and barely could stay awake today in school, but yay, nothing can stop this party animal, bring me my beer and someone play Sandstorm!” Just another day in a student’s demanding life: eat, sleep, rave, repeat. In reality, no food, not enough sleep and lots of rave and repeat. This is fun for a while, but at some point your studies are going to be effected. The boring but unavoidable fact is that you need to have energy to pay attention in classes, to be active and creative with assignments and to have the stamina to do homework and be social as well. This is achieved with healthy lifestyle.

— No one is saying you can’t attend any student parties, they are after all a part of your experience as a student. It is OK to have fun, but it would be valuable to remember also to take care of your mental and physical health. Drinking and partying makes you feel tired, you’ll have hangovers and you might even feel depressed. Include exercising in your weekly routine, 2 to 4 times a week and I promise you, you’ll feel much better in general, Saija says.

“But I cannot afford any hobbies at the moment. It is too expensive to go to a gym, too expensive to start anything.” This is what most of the students tend to think, and to some extend they are right. It is a fact that a lot of the gyms are very expensive, but there are usually always some discounts for students available. In KyAMK students can choose physical education as optional studies and get a change to try different sports (and get credits).

— It is of course wise to go to a gym; there you’ll have the educated staff that can help you, but the trend at the moment is in fact the body-weight training. It is something you can do in your home, without any gym equipment. Exercises like squats, lunges, stomach crunches and plank are simple and effective, says Saija. — If you cannot afford to go to a gym, search for exercise videos in YouTube, there are a lot of good workouts available, she adds.

A simple way of taking care of your physical health in school is having little exercises during the breaks. These exercises are simple and quick to do; their purpose is to make you perky and ease the tension in the neck and shoulder area.

— Students sit a lot in front of the computer, usually in poor postures, not to mention working with laptops at home. The most ergonomic way to sit is by having shoulders relaxed, keeping neck straight, forearms horizontal and feet firmly on the floor. The computer screen should be positioned in a way that it is slightly below the eyes and the horizontal gaze, Saija states.

“I’ll skip lunch and eat chocolate bars or protein bars instead, it is quicker and cheaper for my busy and poor student life” This is happening every day in our school. It is amazing when considering how healthy and versatile food Kasarmiravintola and Paja are serving.

— To me, protein bars are the worst possible things to replace meals with. Finnish school lunch is good and nutritious and it offers variability by having salads, vegetables, protein and fruit there, says Saija. — I strongly recommend students to eat well in school, not only during lunch but also between classes. Remember to eat regularly every 2-4 hours. Have healthy snacks with you and do not forget to drink water. And do not underestimate the importance of sleep: during rest your brain processes the things you’ve learned, she adds.

Every day is full of choices to make; do you take the lift or should you walk the stairs, do you watch the 344th episode of Walking Dead or do you go to sleep early. If you miss a buss, instead of waiting an hour for the new one, maybe start walking. You might just learn that by walking (alive) makes you feel so much better for the entire day that the next time you don’t even think about taking a bus.

Having enough sleep, eating nutritiously and exercising regularly (and attending parties sometimes) is the formula for becoming a happy and successful student.