Avoiding the Temptations of Warmer Weather and Staying Healthy

By Rachael Smith, Student at Radford University

I think most college students would agree that the spring semester is definitely better than the fall.

What’s not to love? The weather gets warmer instead of colder, the days are longer and brighter and summer is right around the corner. The once-deserted quads are filled with guys playing football, girls laying out trying to get sun, book lovers finally catching up on a new novel and everyone basically comes out of hiding and is suddenly more creative and more active.

Even though spring and summertime are a college girl’s dream, the warmer weather can have its negative effects, starting with appearance.

It is very easy to become a “tanoholic” in the early spring season. I can speak from experience; when that first 70-degree day came along, I really wanted to pull on those long-missed shorts, but when I put them on, I saw the reality. My legs were too pale to wear shorts! Now that we can wear short sleeves, tank tops, dresses, skirts, shorts and eventually bikinis, we want to have a little sunglow on us to accent our cute spring clothes.

Tanning not only makes us look good, it makes us feel good as well. The UV lights from the bed trigger endorphins in our brains, hence the feel-good vibes we experience afterwards. But just because it makes you feel good, doesn't mean it's good for you — a study performed by the American Medical Association in 2006 found that those who constantly visit the tanning bed can go through UV withdrawals if they break that consistency. The International Agency for Research on Cancer found young women who tan regularly before the age of 30 have a 75 percent higher risk of getting skin cancer. That’s a huge number!

Since you'll be bearing skimpier clothes in the summer, you might feel the pressure to lose weight as well. During the winter months, it’s incredibly easy to put on “holiday weight” because of Christmas and Thanksgiving. Then when the big college Spring Break rolls around, many women feel like they need to get thin fast, so they turn to extreme methods. There are also really silly “bikini diets” out there, diets that claim to make you lose 10 pounds in two days or something crazy like that.

The best thing to do is to start early. If you know you’re going to the beach in June, try a lifestyle change, not a diet. Go to the gym when you have time in between classes, eat fish, salads and more fruit. It may not come off as quickly as when you throw it all up (gross) but it’s the healthier, more conventional method. Plus, lay off the large amounts of alcohol, which brings me to my next point.

The biggest reason in my opinion that the warmer months are unhealthy towards college women is the DRINKING. College students will skip class to day drink on their porch or at the frat house. This, obviously, causes grades and GPAs to go down. There are a lot of schools that participate in something like Spring Fest. My school has Quadfest and it is the most popular weekend in the entire year. It takes place on one of the last weekends of spring semester and everyone just lets loose and drinks unreasonably large amounts of alcohol, more than they would on a regular weekend. There is a rise in arrests, hospital visits, and alcohol poisoning.

Spring and summer are some of the best months and it’s fun to get dressed up, go party and have a few drinks. But it is so easy for a “few” drinks to turn into “far-too-many” drinks, so just stay safe this spring semester, keep your head screwed on straight and be responsible.

Image: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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