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In the Community

Staying Healthy at American University: Ten Tips for Students

Taking care of yourself expands beyond healthy diet and exercise.

Runners on the Washington mall with Washington monument in background at sunset.

Runners on the National Mall.

From yoga classes to farmers markets, American University—and Washington, DC—offer great opportunities to help students stay healthy during their time here. Here are ten tips from the Department of Health Studies and the Student Wellness Center. They can help you make the most of the resources on and off campus— and help you stay fit and healthy.

1.     Stay active.

All Students have AU RecFit Membership. Head over to one of the three gyms on campus for some cardio, weights, or a wide variety of group exercise opportunities. AU RecFit offers services to help motivate and guide your workout.

If the gym is not your scene, AU RecFit's Fitness Trail on campus can help take your workout outdoors. 

2.     Enjoy nature.

Getting fresh air and beautiful views is an easy alternative way to manage stress.

Did you know that the AU campus is a designated arboretum and public garden? Right here on campus you can surround yourself with nature by taking an Arboretum Tour with AU's Facilities & Grounds staff.

Off campus, you can enjoy local trails and hikes including Great Falls, Rock Creek Park, and Glover Archibald Trail. 

3.     Relax and unwind.

Whether you attend a yoga class through AU RecFit or for credit or practice meditation and mindfulness with the help of @MindfulEagles, taking time to step away from stressors is a great way to take care of yourself. It can even be as simple as sitting down to color—you can get coloring books and pages from the Wellness Center.

4.     Don't break the bank.

Take advantage of your U-Pass and explore many of the free things in this great city! With Smithsonian museums, monuments, and many other historic sites available at no cost, you can never be bored without cash. Kill two birds with one stone and check out the free exercise opportunities in the District, like Free yoga on the National Mall. 

5.     Volunteer and help others.

Helping others is a wonderful way to take care of yourself. DC offers many opportunities to reach out to the community: Capital Food Bank, Martha's Table, Ronald McDonald House and A Wider Circle, just to name a few. For more, connect with the Center for Community Engagement and Service right here on campus. 

6.     Stay well spiritually.

Since spiritual wellness involves one's values and beliefs that help shape one's purpose in life, it can be achieved in several different ways, including, but not limited to, religious practices. American University's Kay Spiritual Life Center is a great place to feel comfortable in all practices and asking questions to learn more about your unique way of tapping into your spirituality. If you are looking off campus, there are many local places of worship for all denominations very close to AU.

7.     Interact with your peers.

Put yourself out there to get active, learn something new, and find groups of people who enjoy similar activities and passions with one of AU's 250+ student organizations including dance groups, intramurals or club sports, and student government. Participating in social group activities is a great way to build positive relationships and bring you joy. 

8.     Appreciate the Arts.

There are many well-known and non-so-well-known places to connect with your creative side in DC. Around every corner you can find scheduled showings and impromptu street performance. If hunting down quirky galleries and theatres is not your thing, you can find new art exhibits on campus at the Katzen Arts Center or catch a play at the Greenberg Theatre.

9.     Eat fresh, local food.  

Eat well, feel great! Adventure out into the city to find your favorite DC market to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, breads, cheeses and more. Be sure to check out the AhealthyU Farmers Market right here on campus every Wednesday during the academic year. 

10.  Stay educated about wellness.

A crucial component to taking care of yourself is to never stop learning, especially when it comes to your health. For more fun ways to take care of yourself, guidance in all aspects of health and a safe place to ask questions and learn, the Wellness Center and their Peer Wellness Educators, Student Health Center and Recreational Sports and Fitness Wellness Ambassadors are great campus resources.