The Louisville Cardinal

Keep your health in mind during finals week

By Nate Gilbert–

The end of fall semester is upon us. The freight train that is fall 2015 is at full speed and is coming into the last station before finishing its journey: final exams. Taking care of your body, exercising regularly and eating a healthy balanced diet is important year around. Poor choices during times of high stress and irregular sleep patterns can amplify poor choices that you are making in your diet and fitness regimen. Keeping these three tips in mind during finals can keep your body and mind in high gear.

Food: Don’t try anything irregular or outside of your normal food choices. Even if your typical food choices are the healthiest, introducing new foods during finals could add digestive stress if you have any sensitivities. Stick with what you know works for you and your GI tract for the week leading up to finals and the week of final exams. The last thing you want is to end up with an irritated stomach or digestive system from new foods.

Fitness: If you’re stressed, you may have trouble sleeping from anxiety associated with tests and projects. Hitting the gym can be a great outlet to blow some steam and it will fatigue your body making falling asleep easier when it is time for shut­ eye. A short 30 minute weight circuit or high intensity intervals (HIIT) on a cardio machine, bike or rower can be great options if you aren’t a lifter.

Fuel: Food is often referred to as fuel, but for finals week I’m choosing to dissociate these words. Think strategically, not just about what you are going to eat but how you are going to eat it, and how it will fit into your study plans. Fueling your body when time is limited should be given the same attention as if you were taking a trip. Will you be at the library for multiple meals? If so, take five minutes to strategically plan what meals and snacks you will take to the library. Nuts, fruit and sandwiches are always great choices.

No one questions that final exams are stressful. Try applying these tips as we roll into finals to keep focused, alert, rock your exams and coast into winter break.