Get a head start.

Ok think hard.

When was the last time you had a check-up? What about during college?

It’s so easy for college students to neglect their fitness and physical health.

You have the pressures of school, tests, clubs, internships, jobs, family, friends, relationships, sports, etc.

Most find it difficult to stay on top of eating properly, staying active and staying rested.

Most just try to make it through by downing mass amounts of caffeine and then crashing, while the next day vegging on snacks, ramen and pizza and not getting out of your pajamas. Not to mention all that goes on during those weekend parties. ūüėČ

It’s a tale as old as time.

However, there is a choice.

The CDC website found here mentions some helpful tips for college students regarding staying on top of health issues.

*Don’t neglect getting check-ups. Most campuses have some kind of clinic that can provide basic care. (Ours is great, just sayin.) Check-ups can catch any issues early.

*Stay on top of vaccinations. Things like meningitis, human papillomavirus (HPV), tetanus, flu, and other diseases.

*Fight sleep deprivation and fatigue. Avoid stimulants as much as possible, have a consistent sleep schedule, try to avoid all-nighters and distractions during sleep time.

*Stay active. The CDC recommends at least 2 1/2 hours per week of activity that raises your heart rate and stretches and strengthens muscles.

*Try to stay balanced with your food choices. Don’t neglect your fruits and veggies. It’s normal to gain or lose weight during the college years, but stay aware to¬†fluctuations.

*Maintain mental health. Stay aware of stressors, pressures, habits, anxieties, depression, etc. Develop a strong network of support. Don’t hesitate to talk to a counselor, pastor, friend or family member for any concerns.

*Avoid substance abuse and risky behavior. There can be a pressure to explore and try new things, including sexual exploration, drug and alcohol use, and just risky and unwise choices. The consequences can be academic, legal, sexual, relational, disease, accident or death.

*Make sure your relationships are healthy and supportive. Stay aware of whether you’re too isolated or stretched too thin. Identify those in your life who are safe, supportive and stable.

The task during the college years (besides getting that degree) really is to get to know yourself. Build this new identity, discover what you’re passionate about and where you want to go in the future. It is a natural time of exposure, change and exploration and inevitably leads to imbalance, temptation and confusion. But we are in control of our choices and have the power to stay wise and aware.

Also, you are surrounded by those who have a heart to walk with you during this journey. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of the care and resources available to you in all departments but especially in student affairs.

**One GREAT opportunity to get ahead on your physical health will be right here on campus.

Head to the *Austin Moses* room TUESDAY March 8 from 9am-1pm for Shorter’s free annual Health Fair.

There will be a multitude of vendors there to provide you with further information, resources, aid and check ups right there. There will be free testing, screening and advising and I heard that there might even be massages!

So come and get educated, exposed and tested so you can get a head start on your health this year. Students have left deeply impacted and changed by the simple awareness of where you are physically and how you can grow.