Ever wonder how you’re going to maintain a healthy lifestyle while focusing on all the stressful responsibilities that college classes will put on you? As many as 85% of college students feel significant amounts of stress on a daily basis, according to a 2009 poll by mtvU, and 35% of that is due to worries about physical health. You don’t have to struggle to keep a balanced lifestyle through pure grit alone; below are seven apps that can help you focus on your studies by letting you worry a little less about your health.
While recent studies say stress might not cause you to gain the infamous “Freshman 15,” Mayo Clinic isn’t kidding when it says stress can cause unnecessary emotional eating. (Because who of us hasn’t turned to late-night sweets when a big paper was due the next day?) MyFitnessPal can help make you more aware of how much food (and consequently how many calories) you take in each day. It provides general recommendations based on your height, weight, and gender as well as your goals, whether they be to lose, maintain, or even gain weight if you’re worried about not eating enough. With college meals leaving a lot to be desired as far as nutrition goes, it can also help you get more of the foods you need with its convenient (and pretty) graphs of nutrients you’ve consumed, so you hit the salad instead of the ice cream bar.
Water Your Body/Waterlogged
Free for Android and iOS, respectively
You may say, “I would never count my calories!” If this is you, not to fear! Water is one of those beverages that people never seem to get enough of. It’s impossible to deny the benefits that drinking water can give you, including reduced appetite and clearer skin. Water Your Body (or Waterlogged if you own an iPhone) can help you get enough of this vital resource and regulate your appetite by sending convenient notifications when you aren’t on track to getting enough water each day.
Diet without exercise is like cereal without milk. It just doesn’t do the trick. A lot of people cringe at the very idea of going to the gym. With college putting a time strain on most students’ schedules, who can blame even the most health conscious for skipping the occasional workout? The Pacer app encourages you to put your best foot forward by tracking how many steps you’ve walked per day. Most doctors recommend 10,000 steps to combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Pacer can get you on track to achieving this goal by using your phone’s pedometer and making you more conscious of your activity levels.
If you’re dedicated to taking control of your health by being active but just don’t have the time, Sworkit might be the app for you. It lets you customize workouts based on your mood, how long you want to exercise, and even what type. It also allows you to focus on certain body parts if you’re in the mood for toning a specific area. It’s a great way to get active if your school requires you to pay extra for a gym membership, or if you’re nervous about going to a gym in general.
Free for Android
College is an extremely busy time. With exams to study for, oodles of work to get done, and those late-night Netflix binges, sleep is not always the #1 priority for most college students. Unfortunately for sleep-deprived college students, sleep is important not only for staying awake in class, but also for avoiding unnecessary binge-eating sessions when your body confuses sleep fatigue with hunger. Twilight helps by filtering out the blue light displayed on your phone, which has been shown to stimulate humans’ circadian rhythm (fun words that mean sleep cycle) with the greatest efficiency. In simpler terms, it can help you sleep better by making your phone a fun shade of red. Thank you science! (Unfortunately, if you own an iPhone, the only options available are f.lux [free] with jailbroken iPhones, or screen filters that cost around $13. F.lux is available free for desktop though, so take advantage of it!)
Remember that Mayo Clinic link to emotional eating? Many students experience changes in appetite due to the stress that college brings to their lives with all the added responsibilities. When you’re feeling like a chicken running around with its head cut off, (like my mom when we went shopping for my dorm, poor soul), take some time out of your day to just breathe. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress by helping you take control of the freight train of thoughts that may be running through your head as you prepare for your first semester of college. Don’t know how to meditate? Breathe2Relax can help you by showing you the right way to implement deep breathing into a meditation routine.
Need a more active way to take control of stress that may be causing unhealthy habits? Habitica turns the to-do list you’ve been ignoring into a game where you get coins and experience points for completing tasks and good habits. For every bad habit you do, you lose health and coins as well. If you’re looking to channel your inner gamer and control your unhealthy habits, (whether it be eating or plain old procrastination,) this app is a great way to start, especially if you’re finding yourself low on time this semester.