Good physical health has clear individual and community benefits and University provides lots of opportunities to get involved.
'To begin with, changing my diet and exercise was motivated by wanting to look different, but what's kept me going is how it makes me feel.'
Physical activity has clear individual and community benefits. It releases endorphins that improve mood, gives a sense of accomplishment and pride, protects people from physical illness and helps you sleep. Participating in and contributing to community groups can also build the strength of that community and give individuals greater access to support networks. Sporting teams and exercise groups are good examples of these type of benefits.
"The club wasn't just the place I went to train and play. It connected me with others. Now I'm in a leadership position I want to make this a healthy place for other students..." Read more stories.. or Tell us your story.
Food for Thought
This page is run by the Public Health students to let you know what healthy food options are available to you and give you tips to eat well on a tight budget. Explore here.
What we eat, how much food and how it is prepared, and who we eat with impacts on our physical health, energy levels, time, finances and connection to others. Eating the right balance of nutritious foods is critical for health and wellbeing.
"Sitting down to eat healthy food with friends is something I look forward to..."
Find out how your food intake compares to the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
University students are often busy and have limited finances, so eating high quality, nutritious foods may sometimes fall of the agenda. However healthy eating does not have to be complex or expensive.
You can start optimising your eating by following the Dietary Guidelines for Australians and making some small changes:
- Eat nutritious foods regularly throughout the day and try not to skip meals
- Make sure you have some fresh fruit every day
- Try to include salads and vegetables at every meal
- Choose wholegrain breads and high fibre breakfast cereals
- Choose foods with healthy oils (olive or seed oils) and avoid fatty meats, chicken skin and high fat spreads
- Use less salt in your foods, try adding herbs instead
- Limit the sugary snacks to a few times a week and prefer plain water as a drink
- Choose healthy snacks in between meals such as dried fruit and nuts, yoghurt, fresh fruit
If you are interested in finding out more about healthy eating habits and smart eating tips, go to the Smart eating for you e-newsletter.
If you are unsure of what you should be eating, or are having health problems related to food it may be wise to see your GP or consider an appointment with an Accredited Practising Dietitian.
A selection of healthy recipes can be found at Smart eating for you recipes.
Sleep ensures the proper functioning of the immune system and repair to the body especially when we are sick. Lack of sleep can cause fatigue, poor concentration and memory, mood disturbances, impaired judgement and reaction time, and poor physical coordination. While Individuals vary in the amount of sleep they need, on average a person needs about 8 hours each day.
Things to help you sleep
- Prepare yourself for sleep; sign off the work you have been doing, tick off tasks completed, make a list of things to do tomorrow, tidy your desk, shut down your computer.
- Have a 'wind down' routine – half an hour before bed, stop studying, texting, surfing the net, talking on the phone and switch off your computer.
- Avoid big meals and stimulants like tea, coffee, hot chocolate, alcohol, energy drinks or cigarettes within 4 hours of going to bed.
- Exercise during the day! It's really good for you as it gets the 'feel good' endorphins going in your body and it improves your overall mood.
- Catch your 'sleep wave'. Sleep comes in waves – usually you may notice this when you start to yawn and feel a little tired in your body. This is the time to 'catch' your sleep wave.
- Have a cup of warm milk with a teaspoon of honey or herbal teas like camomile or passionflower as they have calming properties and promote sleep.
- Establish a routine. Get up and go to bed at roughly the same time. Maintain this routine on the weekends.
- Make your bed a place of rest and relaxation not study or work.
- If you find you have a lot of racing thought and can't sleep try a relaxation exercise or join a group.
- Do something about worries or difficulties that are keeping you awake during the day time.