One of the best ways to effectively manage stress and feel good about being a busy student is to make time for some physical activity, whether a competitive sport, a recreational activity or a simple workout routine at the gym. Students who feel in shape tend to feel better about life in general, even during Paris’ infamous cold, gray winter months.

Below are a few tips regarding exercise and nutrition provided by our Athletics Coordinator. Contact sports@aup.edu for more information.

 

Exercise

We all know exercise is good for us and can help reduce stress and anxiety. Before you sign up for your gym membership and start running two miles a day, keep in mind the following basic recommendations:

  • Exercise to feel better and to get in shape – not just to lose weight. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t lose weight as quickly as you would like as everyone’s morphology is different and results can vary for reasons you may not even suspect.
  • Warm up before exercising, which includes rotating your wrists, neck, hips, etc. Stretch after you work out and not before.
  • Choose exercise activities that you like! If you select a routine that isn’t enjoyable, chances are higher that you will abandon it quicker than something that seems like fun from the start.
  • Develop a variety of routines so you don’t get bored. Consult the Athletics Coordinator if you would like suggestions.
  • Consult a professional fitness trainer before starting to lift weights of more than 10kg.
  • Hydrate regularly when working out, especially in the summer.
  • Remember to rest when working out. Leave at least 24 hours between sessions when working on particular muscle groups.

Check out the greatest.com’s article about 13 mental health benefits of exercise.

Write to the Athletics Coordinator for more on health and productive exercise options.

 

Nutrition

Proper nutrition isn’t important just for our star athletes but for all of us. If you want your body to function at full capacity, then you need to fuel it with the right foods. Our Athletics Coordinator says a few simple things can help make your day more productive, particularly if you plan to engage in physical activity:

  • Eat regularly throughout the day. Don’t wait 5-6 hours to eat or your body will start to slow down its metabolism, which means that you are more likely to store fat.
  • Never skip breakfast. Eating right after you wake up will ensure that you feel good throughout the day.
  • Avoid fatty, heavy and spicy foods on days you plan to work out and always eat two hours BEFORE you work out.
  • Meat eaters should prefer white meat over red meat whenever possible as they are easier and faster to process.
  • Fruits and vegetables (eat at least 5 different fruits and vegetables per day; salads and multivitamin drinks often help to combine some of the fruits and vegetables). Cherry Coke is not a fruit drink!
  • Drink lots of water, avoid soft drinks (too much sugar) and energy drinks (bad for blood pressure)
  • Sports drinks only make sense for workouts longer than an hour and half.

See this greatest.com article for a fun review of foods to eat and avoid when working out.

Write to the Athletics Coordinator for advice on good nutrition and a healthy diet for anyone practicing a sport or working out on a regular basis.

 

Alcohol and Sports

Put simply, don’t drink alcohol before working out or performing a sport. The American College of Sports Medicine says: “Acutely, alcohol can cause negative effects on motor skills and physical performance. Chronically, alcohol abuse may eventually impede physical performance; individuals diagnosed with alcohol dependence have displayed varying degrees of muscle damage and weakness. Furthermore, alcohol abuse is at least as prevalent in the athletic community as it is in the general population; the vast majority of athletes have begun drinking by the end of high school.”

Contact us at counseling@aup.edu if you would like support to stop drinking or for advice about how to talk to a friend about this issue.