How A Healthy Lifestyle Affects College Student’s Academic Performance
Health is a major factor that affects our performance in work or school. It is quite impossible to carry out your tasks or responsibilities if you are suffering from an ailment. Health determines our general well-being and quality of life. For us to have a quality and productive life, we must take good care of our health.
Health is determined by numerous factors. One of them is nutrition. Diet is an influential health factor that determines one’s ability to function mentally and physically. We should take a balanced amount of nutrients and eat diverse types of foods to keep our bodily functions in proper order. To guide the public on getting proper nutrition, the Department of Agriculture has released dietary guidelines that indicate how much of a particular food an individual should consume to maintain his or her health. Nutrients are the driving force behind the body’s life-sustaining functions. Nutrients are indispensable to our body as does fuel to cars.
The Department of Agriculture conducted a research which showed that a diversified diet is crucial in keeping the body well nourished. Getting nutrition from all food groups will ensure that the body will get a balanced amount of nutrients. It is unlikely to get all the nutrients from one class of food.
A separate study revealed that many college students were not complying with the dietary guidelines of the USDA. Nutritional deficiency among college students is a serious matter as eating habits during college years are likely to continue in adulthood. To get the body to perform at its optimum level, good eating habits should be learned in early stages of life. Food selection during early school years has an impact in people’s future eating habits and overall performance. Thus, it is important for students to learn how to get proper nutrition to keep their cognitive performance at its peak once they embark into the stressful college life.
The lack of sufficient sleep can also cause the health to decline. Sleep is a natural way to recharge the tired body. Research revealed that sleep deprivation can cause drowsiness during the day. This leads to lack of focus during the class and lower test scores. Students who lack sleep cannot think well because their body does not have sufficient rest. This prevents them from being productive. Since the physical state is intertwined with mental well-being, sleep-deprived students tend to suffer from poor mental performance as well.
Research also showed that sleep deprivation among college students was as prevalent as it was among adults. The finding suggested that students were unmindful of the implications of sleep deprivation for their health and academic performance. Lack of sleep leads to decreased ability to concentrate and thus lower test scores. A study on the relationship between the duration of sleep and test scores suggested that taking shorter sleep could lead to lower grades. The study examined the academic performance of three groups of students: those who took long, short, and average sleep. Researchers concluded that the duration of sleep had positive correlation with test scores. The discrepancy in the academic performance of the three groups was attributed to decreased concentration among students who lacked sleep. Students really need to pay attention to these findings since grade point average is the decisive factor in assessing eligibility to graduate.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle also involves regular exercise. We need at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Regular exercise makes us energetic and less susceptible to diseases, especially heart diseases. People who exercise regularly experience less stress and enjoy relief from tension. Sleep disorders can also be remedied by regular exercise.
A survey of college students revealed that most did not meet the recommended hours of daily exercise. Another study involving high-school students showed that those who did not exercise were also suffering from other unhealthy habits like smoking and improper diet. On the other hand, students who exercised were found to have better academic grades, more harmonious relationship with their parents, and less susceptibility to drug overuse. The findings showed that exercise was associated not only with better physical health but psychological well-being and cognitive performance as well.
High alcohol consumption can make us susceptible to diseases. Too much alcohol makes it difficult for the body to fight harmful substances. Aside from increasing susceptibility to diseases, alcohol can lead to addiction. Addiction is a serious health concern as it can incapacitate a person. Addicts are unable to function well in the society as they become preoccupied with alcohol. They make wrong judgments and get closer to various diseases like pancreatic inflammation, malnutrition, liver cirrhosis, and brain and heart damages.
Tobacco can also lead to chronic illnesses. Smokers are more susceptible to stroke, cancer of the lung, bronchitis, heart diseases, and infertility. According to one survey, 25% of college students won’t stop smoking and still smoke despite knowing the ill effects of cigarettes.
Research showed that substance abuse was linked to susceptibility to depression and poor academic performance. The findings showed that academic performance, depression, and popularity are major factors in the prognosis of substance abuse. Falling into substance abuse will surely impair cognitive performance and the overall productivity of the addict.
Although several studies have touched the health habits of the college population, there are actually few studies that linked specific health habits with academic performance. So far, generalizations on the relationship between lifestyles and academic grades have been based mostly on research that examined the general health of students and their academic grades.
Since college students have a hectic schedule, they find it challenging to balance studying, extra-curricular activities, and their personal life. Aside from doing their homework, writing research paper, and preparing for exams, students also have to participate in club activities and socialize with people outside their school. Students’ active lifestyle brings a lot of stress, that is why they need to adopt healthy habits. Having a healthy lifestyle will help their mind and body perform properly amid a stressful environment.
As the above-mentioned studies show, most students do not pay serious attention to the ill effects of their unhealthy lifestyles. Moreover, they seem to be not aware that their unhealthy habits are harming their academic performance.
College students are likely to fare poorly in academics if they fail to keep their body healthy. Basic health requirements should be met for students to function physically and mentally in a productive way. Lack of sleep, high alcohol intake, cigarette smoking, substance abuse, and sedentary lifestyle will prevent students from performing at their full potential. As various studies suggest, poor academic grades are linked to unhealthy habits, especially lack of sleep, and substance abuse.