How to start a fitness routine when studying
Being a college student involves a lot of studying. Couple this with your family time and personal commitments, including part-time jobs, and each day quickly flies by. It’s a common misconception that college students are strapped for time. This may make it hard to start a fitness routine—and stick to it. If you’re pressed for time (and money) there are still ways you can keep on tip of your fitness. Here are some strategies you can try.
Determine what you’re trying to achieve
Many students don’t know where to start when planning a new fitness routine. When you show up to the gym without a goal, your efforts may be wasted on haphazard workouts. Before you start, determine what you’re working towards. Do you want to lose weight—how much? Gain muscle—in which areas? Run a marathon or other distance? You can see how your workout strategies would need to differ depending on what you’re working towards. Think about your goal in advance to help yourself create a realistic plan to achieve it.
Experts say that as little as 30 minutes of exercise is enough to kick-start any fitness routine. As a busy student, it can be hard to carve out several hours of gym time each day. Truth is, you may not need it, unless you’re an athlete. We can all budget 30 minutes of activity a few times per week. Incorporating short but intense workouts can be a great way to slowly build fitness into your schedule. Try this strategy instead of forcing yourself into long workouts seven days a week. That type of schedule is hard to stick to, especially if you’re starting at zero.
Plan a time for fitness
A calendar is every student’s best friend. How else can you organize your assignments, exams and study schedule? One of the simplest ways to plan for fitness is to make it part of your calendar. If you treat your workouts like an appointment with allocated time, chances are you’ll stick to it more so than hitting the gym “whenever you have time.” Instead, make time, plan for it and ensure you have all of your clothes and equipment with you if you’re running from task to task.
Join a team—or start one
Heading to the gym for a treadmill session (a.k.aDREADmill session) may not sound super exciting. We often forget about the ways that fitness can be fun. Instead of individual workouts, you may prefer to join a local sports team. The cost is often less than a gym membership, and you can do it with friends. With a team on your side, you’ll be more inclined to stick to the schedule and be social at the same time. Browse your local community calendar for softball teams, soccer, ultimate Frisbee and more. Can’t find the sport you’re looking for? Create a team of your own! Gather up some friends and meet once or twice a week for a pick-up game.
Do double duty at the gym
If your fitness routine is built on a cardio plan, you may find yourself spending a lot of time on the treadmill or stationary bike. Instead of just mindlessly completing the task, do double duty! Prop up a book or tablet on the machine, and get it some studying or course readings. This task works best during low-intensity exercise. Not only will you hit two tasks at once, it can also make the time go by faster.
We know that gym memberships can be expensive, so can fitness equipment. One of the easiest ways to work out without breaking the bank is to do so at home. A quick search on YouTube will reveal a ton of at-home workouts that you can complete without equipment. Focus on bodyweight exercises and aerobics for a great circuit. This is one of the easiest ways to incorporate fitness into your routine without even having to leave the house.