Maintaining physical health

Introduction

In order to do well in school, especially considering the rigors of the program, balance mental well-being and physical health. Being healthy allows for best learning, performance, and personal satisfaction while in school. Creating a healthy lifestyle now will promote a lifelong healthy lifestyle. Bonus: exercise promotes brain neuronal growth and persistent connections. Exercise before class to stimulate brain function. Exercise right after learning a new skill to hone the skill even further without more practice!

 

Strategies

Find ways to be sure to eat healthily and exercise regularly.
Lifestyle
  • Get regular medical and dental check-ups while in school.
  • Minimize caffeine consumption.
  • Don’t start smoking OR if you do smoke, consider quitting.
  • Don’t do drugs.
  • Minimize alcohol consumption.
  • Set a goal for weight loss if necessary.
  • Give yourself a reward if you’ve stuck to your plan of exercising all week.
  • Be sure to get adequate sleep, ESPECIALLY the night before a big exam.
  • See your physician or visit Boynton if you feel ill, don’t wait until you are so ill that it is necessary to go to an Emergency Room.
  • Practice safe sex.
  • Appoint a designated driver if you plan on drinking.
Nutrition
  • See UIll recipe box for tools, tips and recipes
  • Minimize fatty/sugary snacks and meals.
  • Start the day with a healthy breakfast.
  • Take healthy snacks, such as veggies, fruits, nuts, or yogurt to school to snack on while you’re studying.
  • Consider walking or riding a bike when appropriate.
  • Walk during your breaks. Aim for 10,000 steps/day.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Exercise with a friend—set a regular time and remind each other.
  • Buy portable equipment, like a jump rope and use it when you can.
  • Be sure that the exercise you choose to do is accessible, comfortable, but mainly be sure that it’s FUN, so that you continue to do it.
Under times of stress, some people find it hard to maintain weight. Others use dieting to feel in control
  • Don’t forget to eat.
  • Set up specific times for eating, even if you’re not hungry.
  • Consider a healthy supplement instead of skipping a meal.
  • Carry health snacks like fruit, raisins, or energy bars.
  • Talk to a counselor if you struggle with your relationship with food

 

People to talk about a healthy lifestyle

  • Your physician
  • Your faculty mentors
  • Your classmates
  • Your personal trainer
  • A nutritionist or dietitian
  • A mental health counselor
  • Student counseling services: (612) 624-3323
  • Boynton Mental health clinic: (612) 624-1444
  • Athena Diesch-Chham: (612) 625-4168, diesc009@umn.edu
  • AVMA physical health resources

 

Final Thoughts

If you haven’t had a healthy lifestyle before coming into vet school, IT IS NOT TOO LATE. Learning is optimal when you are at your best mentally and physically. Start doing something for yourself today to promote a healthy lifestyle and to facilitate personal and academic success.

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I tend to be a B or C student in veterinary school, but the one semester I almost got straight A’s was the semester that I started training for a half marathon, and essentially prioritized things other than school. It made me use my time more efficiently, and honestly working out solved a lot of other problems for me like anxiety, insomnia, and that feeling of guilt you have for taking care of yourself when you feel like you should be studying. Prioritize the important things first. You can do it.

UMN CVM Student, Class of 2019

Play a sport! Whether it’s intramural or a league out in the cities, it gives you an excuse to play at least once a week and completely forget about your stressors. Also, they cost money so you’re less likely to skip games which ensure you get your wellness activity in!

UMN CVM Student, Class of 2021

The hardest part about maintaining physical health is simply getting out of bed, driving/walking to the gym, etc. An awesome way to motivate yourself to get active is to have accountability partners. Have a friend that you go to a yoga class with, a partner for running or a group of other students for an intramural team. This way you have others who you have to meet and are expecting you to be there. It’s a win- win situation! Being active in veterinary school has really helped me maintain not only my physical health but also my mental and emotional health as well.“

UMN CVM Student, Class of 2019

Always make time for exercise. It helps decrease stress and gives you a study break. You don’t need to do a lot. Just do something to get moving. There is no draw back.

UMN CVM Student, Class of 2020

I like to pick a number of workouts I want to complete each day and write down which days I will do them. That way when I have a day off I don’t have to second guess if I should be at the gym.

UMN CVM Student, Class of 2020

Find a classmate with similar exercise activities that they enjoy and plan to do them together. My friends and I do yoga, challenge each other to get enough steps on FitBit, and lift weights together. It keeps you motivated to maintain your physical health, and you get to socialize while you do it!

UMN CVM Student, Class of 2019

“It is essential to continue extracurricular activities that enhance your life. For example, soccer has always been a great stress relief and a time for me to socialize with friends, so I chose to continue playing during Vet school. Not only did it help me stay balanced between academics and extracurricular activities, but it also kept me feeling fit and healthy. When I feel healthy, I have more energy to study and feel better overall, especially on days that require longer hours.”

JABSOM Student, Class of 2004

“I have always been an athlete. It is tough to keep it up in school. Sometimes I chose to sleep or study over running/getting outdoors. But, I’ve learned that I could study so much better on the days that I did go surfing, running, etc.”

JABSOM Student, Class of 2003

In Unit 3, I took undergraduate yoga and hula classes. I found these classes to be stress- relievers [which helped] me maintain good physical and psychological health. Also, in Unit 4, I took undergraduate dance class for a couple of months. It was very relaxing and energizing. In addition, though I was so busy most of the time, I tried to cook my own healthy food and avoided eating out too [often]. Lastly, I set aside a time for a mass every Sunday to stay in touch with the Higher Power.”

JABSOM Student, Class of 2007

“Intramural sports with classmates (Running, basketball, [surfing]) is a great way to bond, stay fit, and keep your sanity.”

JABSOM Student, Class of 2007

”Its been helpful for me to commit to riding my bike to class. That way I am forced to exercise.”

JABSOM Student, Class of 2008

License

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Well-being Handbook by Erin Malone is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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