Physical wellbeing

A healthy body will help you keep a healthy mind while studying. Take a look at this section to help you manage your physical wellbeing while at AUT.

Official COVID-19 health advice

For health information about COVID-19, including how to protect yourself and others by staying home if you're sick, check the government's COVID-19 website.

Protect yourself and others from COVID-19

Alcohol and drugs

Learn about what happens to your body when you drink or take drugs, and find information about reducing risk and getting help.

Top tips for safe alcohol use

Effects of alcohol

It’s important to know what is happening to your body when you drink alcohol. This information from can help you make an informed decision when you’re thinking about drinking alcohol:

The best way to avoid the harm of drugs is not to take them. You should always respect your friends' decisions if they choose not to take drugs.

What you should know before taking any drug

  • Dose: The amount of drug that should be taken at a given time
  • Onset of effects: The time it takes for the drug to trigger a biological change
  • Effects: The biological changes that are triggered by the drug, including physical and psychological changes
  • Interactions: The way the drug might interact with other drugs in your system
  • Method: How the drug is being taken
  • Duration: The length of time that the biological changes last in the body
  • Time in the system: The time it takes for your body to eliminate the drug

Confidential helplines provide free support for any person concerned about their own or someone else’s drug use.

Helplines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are free from a landline or mobile.

Alcohol Drug Helpline

Māori Helpline

0800 787 798

Pasifika Helpline

0800 787 799

Smoking and vaping

Find out why smoking is dangerous, and why you should avoid starting – as well as how you can get help to quit.

Remember, AUT’s campuses are smokefree and vapefree.

To avoid becoming hooked on smoking, don't start. Cigarettes contain tobacco and nicotine, which is highly addictive and will lead to a number of health conditions.

If you do smoke, the best thing you can do for your health and wellbeing is to stop. This will reduce your risk of developing smoking related health conditions and will also reduce the risk for those around you. Stopping smoking will also help you save money.

Confidential support is available to support you in your journey to stop smoking.


Te Kaha Stop Smoking Services

Ready, Steady, Quit

Healthy eating and physical activity

Find out why it is so important that we eat well and take regular exercise – and how to do each of these.

The food we put inside our bodies is important. Developing a balanced and nutritional diet early on can enhance your academic performance and prepare you for a lifetime of healthy eating.

The basics

Health star ratings on food packaging

If you’re at the supermarket and unsure of what’s healthy and what’s not, use health star ratings to guide you. The more stars you see on the packaging the healthier is.

More information:

Recipe ideas

Stuck for an idea of what to make? Check out these links for ideas of quick and healthy meals to make while at uni.

NZ exercise guidelines for adults

Here are the basics you need to know for keeping your body physically well.

  1. Sit less, move more. Break up long periods of sitting.
  2. Do at least 2 ½ hours of moderate or 1 ¼ hours of vigorous exercise throughout the week.
  3. For extra health benefits, do five hours of moderate or 2 ½ hours of vigorous exercise in the week.
  4. Do muscle strengthening activities on at least two days each week.
  5. Doing some physical activity is better than doing none.

How much activity is recommended? (Ministry of Health website)

Simple ideas for exercise around campus

  • Join AUT Gym. Do your own workout or join a group fitness class. If you are unsure of where to start, AUT Gym also offers personal training. AUT Gym website
  • Join an AUT sport team or try a social league: play sport at AUT
  • In between lectures try going for a short walk. Check out the local parks close to campus.
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift – an easy way to get some steps in
  • Do some basic stretches

Screening your own health

It’s important to take control of screening your own health and knowing when to get help.

When to visit the doctor

You should see your doctor for a skin examination if you:

  • Notice any unusual skin changes
  • See or feel a spot or mole that is different to others

Unusual changes to look for in a spot include:

  • A change in colour, size or shape
  • Itchiness or bleeding
  • Something that looks different to other spots
  • It has become raised ('sticky out') and looks shiny in appearance
  • Appears quickly
  • It is new

Video: How to check for skin cancer (YouTube)

Taking care of your breasts

The best thing you can do to protect yourself from breast cancer is to be breast aware from the age of 20. This means knowing how your breasts normally look and feel and regularly checking for any unusual changes.

If you’re aged between 45-69, you can get a free mammogram every two years.

In New Zealand, testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in young men. You should be familiar with how your testicles normally feel so that you can detect any abnormalities.

It’s recommended that you examine your testicles once a month for any changes.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself (video)

People aged between 25 and 69 who have a cervix, and who have ever been sexually active, should have regular cervical smear tests. Contact the AUT Student Medical Centre to book a smear test.

Your first smear? Find out what to expect in the toolkit.

AUT Student Medical Centres

Staying well in all seasons

Learn how you can look after your body and your health all year round.

How to apply sunscreen

  • Make sure the bottle is not expired before applying
  • Apply 20 minutes before going outside
  • A full body application is 7 teaspoons of sunscreen, so make sure you are using enough.
  • Re-apply every 2 hours

Slop on sunscreen (video)

In the heat of the summer it can be easy to become dehydrated. A good way to monitor this is to check the colour of your urine. Does it pass the pale pee test? Darker coloured urine tells you that you need to drink more fluids, quickly.

  • Get a reusable water bottle and sip on this throughout the day. Aim for 1.5L to 2L per day. Having a 1-litre water bottle can help keep track of how much you drink
  • Add some natural flavour if you don’t like drinking water on its own – add a wedge of lime, some berries or cucumber
  • When snacking, look out for fruit and veg that have high percentages of water such as cucumber, celery, tomatoes, watermelon and strawberries.
  • Avoid alcohol, as it has a strong dehydrating effect and doesn’t count towards your daily fluid intake. If you are drinking alcohol, make sure you are alternating with glasses of water
  • Reduce fruit juice, soft drinks, and energy drinks. Due to their high sugar content, don’t rely on these for hydration. Water will do a much better job.
  • Check out the Plant Nanny app in the toolkit section below.

Staying well during winter

  • Get the flu vaccine - it's the best protection against getting the flu. The flu vaccine is recommended and free for those who are most likely to get very sick/hospitalised if they catch the flu. Check your eligibility on the Immunisation Advisory Centre website
  • If you're a student and enrolled with AUT Student Medical Centre, you can get a free flu vaccine each year.
    Staying healthy while studying at AUT
  • Wash your hands – regular and careful hand washing is the best way to stop the spread of germs.
  • Boost your immune system by eating a healthy and nutritious diet during the winter months. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables will provide you with antioxidants and vitamin C, which is super for keeping winter colds away.
  • Drink water - Although it’s easy to forget to drink water throughout the winter months, it’s important to drink just as much water as the warmer months to flush out those toxins.
  • Exercise - While it may seem less appealing, it’s important to keep exercising over the winter months. It’s essential for a healthy body and mind. AUT Gym website
  • Get outside - When it’s light outside, get out for some fresh air and free vitamin D. Vitamin D contributes to a strong immune system. Research also shows that sunshine improves our mental wellbeing.
  • Stay connected with others - During the long dark evenings, you may find yourself staying in more and going to fewer social events. It’s important to keep connected with others to maintain our wellbeing.


Sleep has an important role to play when it comes to staying well. Sleep can impact on a number of daily functions such as mood, memory, concentration and performance and can also impact on your health and relationships.

Bright Side's 'Sleep hygiene: 10 tips for getting better sleep'

Share your recipes

What's your favourite, quick and healthy recipe you like to cook while studying? Share it with us and we'll post our favourites here for others to see.


Have a favourite workout?

What’s your go-to workout routine? Share it with us and we'll post our favourites for others to see and use.


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  • Are the resources useful?
  • What could we do to make it better?
  • Are there any wellbeing events you would like to see happen on campus?

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