Healthy steps to avoid the freshman 15

It’s easier than you think

Before coming to college, most students were formerly acclimated to long days at school followed by home cooked meals composed of all the essentials: a perfectly balanced array of leafy, green vegetables, hearty protein and varied grains. Leaving home and attending university can most certainly be a culture shock, that is, a food-oriented one.

The possibilities of eating are essentially limitless, especially here at Cornell. Do you enjoy sushi? We’ve got a truck for that. How about ice cream? There’s a homemade dairy bar here that sources from local Ithaca-produced milk. Are you on a meal plan? Dining halls offer endless options of pizza, pasta, and, on some special nights, quesadillas. The best part of it all is that you can have as much as you want of it without paying extra. Worst culprit of it all, and it would be a sin to overlook it, is the late-night Nasty runs after a night of going out. You know it, I know it, we both know it, and we’ve both been there. Those mozzarella sticks are to die for – don’t pretend they aren’t. At a school like Cornell, with the third best campus food in the country, staying in shape during your freshman year is no easy feat. However, these five simple tips can help you stay healthy and even afford you a mozzarella stick here and there.

Go to the gym – with a buddy

One of the most motivating ways to get yourself to the gym is to go with a friend. If you’re snacking away in someone’s room or cramming before a prelim, going to the gym with someone is one of the best ways to relieve stress and keep your mind and heart healthy. The hardest part is truly getting on your clothes and getting out of the door, but with a pal by your side, it’s easier, makes the gym less daunting and can even be a special bonding activity.

Take advantage of Cornell’s P.E. requirement

Last semester I told myself that I would take a class that challenged me physically rather than taking something that requires little physical activity like bowling or meditation, for example. As such, I signed up for cardio kickboxing all on my own without knowing anyone in the class. The results were definitely positive. The class was exciting and different than anything I’d previously been exposed to. Having that gym requirement and taking it seriously made me get up every Sunday and work out because I literally had to in order to pass the class. I actually ended up failing the class due to lack of attendance and reading the syllabus…but that’s another lesson. Moral of the story: take an exigent gym class and take it seriously!

Run around Bebe Lake

Ithaca truly is gorges, and we are lucky to go to a college that has a campus as beautiful as Cornell’s. Not many college students can say that they have a lake in the middle of their school, which is absolutely beautiful to admire and run (or walk) around – despite the time of year. While it may be cold out, bundling up, putting on some headphones or fetching a friend can make time fly and your body healthy!

Skip the bus, walk a little

Something as simple as getting to class can contribute to a healthier you. In order for that to occur, however, you have to make the small sacrifice of ditching the T-cat and investing in those legs! Being in college means that you are pretty much around people at all times. I use my time walking to and from classes as alone time where I can just chill, think and listen to music. Even better, Cornell’s many hills will give you those killer itha(calves) and you won’t even know it.

Hidden gem: Risley Dining Hall

It was literally not until last week where I discovered a dining hall on North Campus that was gluten free, absolutely delicious and extremely healthy. At Risley, they have all sorts of healthy foods that you wouldn’t otherwise find anywhere on campus. There are freshly chopped avocados, chia seed pudding, poke, overnight oats and always some sort of fresh kale salad and cooked veggies. These healthy, varied foods remind me of home cooked eating where nutrition always came first. Eating at Risley is definitely something that can keep off the extra RPCC froyo pounds and fill you up with clean foods.