Staying Healthy While Pre-Health

by Kausar Ali

Do you struggle to squeeze in a workout between classes, labs, research, and other extracurricular activities? Many pre-health students worry about not being able to balance their personal health with their demanding academic schedule and social life. Some students simply say that there is just not enough time.

USC undergraduate Daniel McPhie says, “I work out every day in the summer, but once I come back to school, my routine just falls apart.”

It can be difficult to manage time between studying for midterm exams, going to the gym, sleeping, and eating healthy meals.

“If I make time to both study for biology or chemistry and go work out, I lose out on extra time to sleep or cook a healthy homemade meal. I have to sacrifice some things to do another,” says USC undergraduate Keri Armstrong.

Nonetheless, there are many students who have incorporated a daily exercise routine into their schedules. It is important as future health professionals to stay healthy. A physician or nurse must take care of themselves in order to take care of others.

Some students go to Lyon Center before or after class to lift weights, run, swim, do yoga, do Zumba, or to rock climb and jump rope. Other students go to gyms off campus apartments or even have their own stay-at-home exercise routines.

Waking up early to exercise or even doing pushups, crunches, and jump ropes during study breaks can help instill a healthy exercise plan into one’s routine. This is because exercise is such an important aspect of people’s lives that students feel squeezing in a workout is just as imperative as finding the time to study for their upcoming exams.

Students like Zade Shakir use exercise as a means to destress from the pressures and demands of a science-based career track.

“I make sure to fit exercise into my schedule every day and on weekends so that I keep a healthy regime. Staying fit and healthy is an extremely important to me. It is a way for me to relieve stress and just have down time for myself,” said Shakir.

Recent studies have shown that students who incorporate an exercise component into their routines tend to have improved memory and learning. Thus, taking a break from studying to work out can be a beneficial investment as it releases stress, promotes effective studying, and allows one to be relaxed and more focused in class.

Jason Hsu says, “Doing things I enjoy like playing the guitar and going on a short run help me release tension when I am really stressed. Afterwards, I can focus on my work and study more efficiently for my classes.”

Of course, once midterms and finals season comes around, it is easy to stray from a workout routine and lose time for hobbies. More time is spent on studying for upcoming tests, instead of working out, relaxing, engaging in leisurely activities, and even cooking a healthy homemade meal, let alone having all three meals a day.

Some pre-health students make up for not being able to squeeze in an exercise by just eating healthy. Eating healthy is just as important as exercising and releasing stress.

“When I can’t go work out with my usual daily routine because I have an exam I need to study for, I just make sure I maintain a healthy diet to make up for it,” says Lookmaan Ismail.

In a way, working out is a means for students to make time for themselves away from academics. Furthermore, exercise can provide pre-health students with self-confidence to feel healthy and good about themselves. This confidence can transfer into their academics by motivating them to excel as individuals and be the competitive medical school applicant they dream to be.

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