Health Hacks: College Edition

It’s never too early to start monitoring your heart health. The reality is that heart disease can affect anyone – even college students. Now is the time to start forming heart healthy habits that you can practice throughout your life. Not sure where to start? Keep reading to learn more about the best health hacks for college students.  

  • Know your numbers. It’s important to be cognizant of your cholesterol and blood pressure numbers as they can indicate your risk of cardiovascular disease. Be sure to check in with your physician at least once a year to ensure your numbers are where they should be.
  • Avoid smoking. Cigarettes are made with thousands of harmful chemicals that are carried throughout your bloodstream to every organ in your body. With each puff of a cigarette, your risk of high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke increases. It can even reduce your lifespan by 13-14
  • Eat balanced, healthy meals. Though it can be tempting to rely on fast food or Ramen when you’re pressed for time, maintaining a healthy diet is essential in college. In addition to keeping your energy up while you’re in class, eating right can also prevent unnecessary weight gain that is often associated with greater risk of heart disease. Try to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains into your meals every day. Also, be sure to limit your sodium intake as well as your consumption of caffeinated, sugary, or alcoholic beverages.
  • Maintain proper sleep hygiene. Most college age students need 7—9 hours of sleep per night. Regardless of how hectic your college schedule is, it’s important to make sleep health a priority; otherwise you put yourself at risk for developing heart disease such as high blood pressure or diabetes. For the best night’s sleep, try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, in addition to avoiding caffeine and screens several hours prior to bed.
  • Exercise 3–4 times a week. Exercise is vital in maintaining heart health because it helps lower your blood pressure, improve circulation and maintain good cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of aerobic exercise several times a week. Most colleges offer fully equipped gyms that are free for students to use, but you can also set yourself on the right track towards a healthy heart simply by walking to class every day.

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