Start this semester with some easy steps

Fall semester has started and students are beginning to feel the constant pressures of school again. Changing just a few lifestyle habits can have a huge impact in your overall health and make school much more manageable.

First, stop smoking. The nicotine in cigarettes causes the blood vessels of stressed out college students to constrict, which makes your heart beat faster. Cessation of smoking is the fastest thing you can do to decrease your blood pressure and manage stress.

Next, exercise. One of the best ways to manage the pressures of college is to burn off some fuel in the gym. Once students stop being lazy and looking for reasons not to exercise, you will find that it is a great way to clear your mind. Plus, it helps you sleep better.

You also need to forget the diet. Diets are not meant to be long-term; instead, the majority were created to be a shortcut to unhealthy weight loss. The majority of dieters gain around 10 precent back in the first two weeks after their diet ends. Instead, change your exercising and eating habits and make these more sustainable for long-term success.

Another thing to keep in mind is that not all fats are bad. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are very healthy. These fats are found in nuts, seeds and oils. Stay away from trans-fats and saturated (animal) fats.

Drinking water is also vital. Our bodies are made of 70 percent water. Most people neglect their water intake each day. Living in Houston makes this topic even more important. Most Houstonians walk around dehydrated on a daily basis. This can lead to many problems — including death. Rule of thumb: if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Finally, never deprive yourself from the things you enjoy. Personally, I have a huge sweet tooth for Skittles and PEZ, and sure enough, I eat them. In fact, I have a bag next to me right now. If it makes you happy then it is good for you, just make sure you enjoy them in moderation. Another rule of thumb: unless you stole it from a child, never beat yourself up about the foods you eat.

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