How to stay healthy while attending college online

August 12, 2020

Are you planning to go to college online? It’s a great option for people looking to advance their careers while balancing their other life commitments. However, investing time in personal health is especially important for online students. With so many other responsibilities – children, family members, dependent elderly parents, demanding jobs, and other responsibilities, not to mention a busy school schedule – it can be difficult to remember to take care of yourself. And while sitting at a computer for hours on end doesn’t sound too dangerous, recent research suggests it. Without personal care, it can be much more difficult to be successful with your online program and achieve the life and career goals you were hoping for while attending college online.

Here are three risks online students face when it comes to staying healthy and what you can do to avoid them.

Risk 1: long periods of rest

According to the US News & World Report, online students can have between 40 and 50 hours of intense screen time per week. If you don’t interrupt this period with physical activity, these hours can lead to a number of health problems, including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat, and low cholesterol, according to the Mayo Clinic.

What you can do

Experts at the Mayo Clinic recommend that you don’t sit down every 30 minutes. So you have to set an alarm every half hour to get up from your chair, even if it only takes a minute or two. Take a stroll around the block or take a quick trip to the gymnasium between classes. At least interrupt longer hours of sitting by getting up, stretching, or walking around the house.

Risk 2: sedentary lifestyle

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week or a combination of the two. However, according to the most recent National College Health Association Health Assessment from the American College Health Association, only 45% of students meet the AHA recommendations. Online students face additional challenges in exercising. Compared to their local peers, they do not benefit from campus sports centers with exercise equipment, fitness classes, and intramural sports unless they wish to make offsetting a priority with their own program. exercise.

What you can do

There are several ways to introduce exercise into your routine. Visit a nearby gym. Join a recreational sports league. Explore your neighborhood. Cycling on weekends. Whatever physical activity you choose, you absolutely must exercise. While you may not be able to do it right away, be sure to get the amount of aerobic exercise recommended by the AHA. Not only can it make your heart beat faster, but it can also improve your school performance when you sit down for your next class. Experts say exercise may have short-term benefits for your brain and improve your focus for up to three hours later.

Risk 3: social isolation

Even with the best-designed, interactive, and collaborative online courses, online students can feel lonely after class. After all, you might not have a roommate to return or college-sponsored activities to participate in with friends. Failure to compensate with social connections in other areas of your life can lead to loneliness, which can potentially lead to mental disorders such as depression.

What you can do

When you spend more than 40 hours a week in relative isolation while attending college online, maintaining personal social life becomes even more important. Make sure to spend time with friends and family frequently. Don’t be afraid to make new friends in your online classes. After all, they are in the same situation as you. Organize study groups or chat with classmates using Skype or other social collaboration tools. And who says you always have to be alone when teaching online? Depending on the course, you may want to take classes every now and then or study in a live setting like a cafe, park, or local library.