The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

How to lead a healthy lifestyle on campus

Lisa Chasanov
McKinley Health Center in Urbana.

Coming to college for the first time can be an exciting and somewhat nerve-wracking process. Whether you find yourself thousands of miles from home or just a short drive away, your life will heavily change in the days following move-in.

While you’re signing up for various RSOs and finding a groove for your daily schedule, it’s important to remember to make your health a priority. Your routine won’t be very helpful if it is frequently interrupted by sicknesses both mental and physical. 


An important diet is necessary to stay healthy both mentally and physically. It can be inconvenient to consider nutritional needs in college, but being intentional about your food and water intake can go a long way for your academic performance.

Eating healthy and balanced meals is important for proper sustenance. The Department of Agriculture recommends eating around two to three cups of colorful fruits and vegetables daily. The inconsistent nature of a college student’s lifestyle requires plenty of energy, so prioritizing eating well and enough food can help you to stay healthy and on top of your schoolwork.

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    While this can seem difficult, and at times almost impossible, the dining halls across campus often offer healthier options alongside the traditional processed college grub.

    Stocking up on fruit from one of the convenience-style dining locations and keeping it in your room can help to meet health goals and ensure that you always have access to a healthy snack. 

    Drinking water is also a crucial step. Staying hydrated can help with fatigue and mind fog throughout your day — especially during the toasty months of August, September and May. 

    It can be a challenge to stay hydrated for a variety of reasons, but drinking an adequate amount of water is important for your body to continue to function well. 

    The general guideline is drinking 64 ounces — or eight cups — of water daily. This requirement can vary from person to person depending on body mass, activity levels and other factors. Investing in a high quality water bottle might help motivate you to remember to drink water throughout the day. 

    Food and liquid intake is important, but it’s also important to remember that your diet will not and often should not be exactly like that of another person. The steps one takes to stay healthy should be specific to their needs and priorities. It is important to recall that this distinction is okay. 


    Exercise is a vital part of staying healthy on campus. Whether that includes a spritely walk around the Main Quad or a few laps in a University pool, an exercise regimen can help contribute to improved mental and physical health. 

    Even if you’ve never stepped foot in a gym before, coming to college is a great opportunity to take advantage of the exercise-related resources the University offers. 

    The University has two different main gyms: the ARC and CRCE. Memberships to both gyms are included in the student fees that are paid alongside tuition. 

    Utilizing this effectively free gym membership is not only a means of keeping your body in check, but a potentially vital part of your daily routine. Although it is generally understood that exercise is crucial to strengthening your body and preventing disease, there is also evidence of exercise as a reliever of stress. 

    According to Mayo Clinic, “physical activity may help bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.”

    Endorphins are used in the body to both reduce stress and improve mood, and when the body releases them through exercise, you can feel the effects very quickly, according to Mayo Clinic.

    Habit formation

    Coming to college can be a good time to begin implementing healthier habits. A new environment can be conducive to a change in headspace, allowing for the introduction of new, healthier practices. 

    Keeping healthy habits can help to counteract the discomfort of transitioning into a new lifestyle.

    Healthy habits aren’t always directly associated with bodily health. Simple tasks like making your bed, practicing self care through a skincare routine, drinking tea in the morning or even listening to a new album of music weekly might be helpful in creating a new mindset for a healthier outlook on life.

    Staying organized using a planner or online calendar can also be helpful in reducing stress. It can help to visually see the tasks and events you have planned for a week. 

    Transitioning into college should be fun, but at times it can be very stressful and difficult. The University offers a variety of resources that are at no extra cost to the student, including support from McKinley Health Center, which provides access to both physical and mental well-being experts. 

    Everyone is going through a similar journey, so make friends, make memories and make healthy choices!


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    About the Contributor
    Lisa Chasanov, Managing Editor for Reporting
    Howdy! My name is Lisa, my game is delivering quality news to your phone screen, coffee table and recycling bin. Since fall 2022, I have had the honor of writing, editing and often-unsuccessfully pitching content for The Daily Illini. During my time at the 152-year-old news source, I have served as a reporter at our news desk, summer editor and assistant news editor. Most recently, after a rewarding year of bringing you hard-hitting stories such as “Uncut: Dissecting Circumcision” and “‘Surf’s Up’ could be the film of the summer,” I have taken over as managing editor for reporting. In my free time, you can find me performing open heart surgery in dark alleys, communicating telepathically with small woodland creatures and engaging in otherwise dubious activities. If you would like to summon me for any reason, you can find me at [email protected]. Good Yard. Stay tuned for more.