HBA

The Health Advantage

  • Will Moncrieff
  • |
  • Dec 1, 2017

As AEOs, we live in a world of demanding extra-curricular activities and leadership roles which we balance while maintaining high standards in school. You have to be on your game and always improving yourself from who you were yesterday. Advantages and strategies that will help you thrive in this lifestyle should always be on your radar or else you may find yourself falling behind the pack. Tip: NEVER fall behind the pack.

One of the easiest, most researched ways of gaining that advantage comes down to the old adage: “You are what you eat.” Treat your body right, and you will notice a difference in how you perform on many levels. Combine a healthy diet with a workout regime, and you will notice a difference in how you feel and perform in class.

It all starts with the diet. You are armed with what seems like a wonderful card that gives you ultimate freedom to walk confidently into any cafeteria to purchase all types of meals, drinks, or snacks. This can get dangerous and soon enough, unhealthy eating habits can develop. The results of unhealthy eating produce increased grogginess, less focus, and a decline in mental health. None of those by-products are what you need to succeed and can harm your school work, social life, and your confidence. Below is a brief list of some of the foods that are hard for your body to digest, and causes the negative factors I have mentioned.

Ingredients to avoid:

  • Enriched flour/wheat
  • Heavy sugar
  • Excessive dairy
  • Refined carbs (found in processed foods)

You need fuel to power your body; a healthy diet will energize you, increase mental clarity, and improve sleep. Proper nutrition is a highly researched area and has been a huge focus in recent years because of the success students have seen when eating properly.

A study from the Food Research and Action Centre showed that eating a full breakfast (defined as including multiple nutrients and whole foods) instead of a partial breakfast relates to fewer math errors, better vocabulary, and higher retention of learning. In addition, sleep is improved through replacing foods that are high in trans fats and sugars, as these foods do not digest properly and can keep you wired long into the night.

Foods to incorporate in a student diet:

  • Spinach, and other greens
  • Whole foods rich in Vitamin B (improves cognitive ability)
  • Complex carbs (found in whole grain products, such as toast)
  • Healthy fats (especially Omega-3 fatty acids, found in nuts and fish)
  • Soy or almond milk (high sources of vitamins and protein with good digestion)

 By accepting this healthy diet, you will undoubtedly improve your body, mind, and performance in school. Adding on regular fitness will accelerate your self-improvement even farther. Research done on the effect of physical activity on mental health have shown overwhelmingly positive results and is particularly applicable to motivated students.

Imagine walking into an exam with less anxiety and feeling more grounded. Imagine yourself having a better mood when you are with your friends and being less grumpy when you are tired. Achieving health and fitness goals will give you more confidence, which will aid with your social life. Personally, when I started working out I noticed my ADHD was dampened, and my mood increased exponentially. I was sleeping better, my social skills started improving, and, most importantly, I felt a sense of purpose that drove me to better performance in all aspects of my life. When I started working out and altering my diet, I became sick less often and had more energy.

We’re all here for different reasons, but we share a similar drive to be a little bit better of a person than who we were yesterday and an even better of a person than who we were a year ago. Fundamentally, that is why you should develop yourself physically and mentally. Eating healthy and physical fitness will increase your mood and performance in school and up your game from good to great.

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