Staying fit and healthy while at college can be a massive stressor as you are busy with studying and trying to stretch a small budget as far as possible.
Most of us spend our student years chugging energy drinks and living off ramen in order to get through the high workload.
However, there are some ways you can stay fit while managing your time and budget. This provides you with the benefits of keeping you healthy, reducing stress and providing you with endorphins.
Use On Campus Facilities
Most campuses have onsite facilities that you can use to keep fit while studying making it easier to do as you don’t have a commute to make to get to the gym. The bonus of this is that they also tend to have discounted rates for students that means you don’t break the bank.
Check to see what your college offers and whether they have packages of services available to help you get used to a fitter lifestyle.
Even if you don’t’ have services on your campus, there are several applications and YouTube channels providing free workouts that you can do in your dorm room to keep you going. You don’t need to fork out a large amount of money to have a good workout.
Add to this walking to and from buildings where you can and doing outdoor activities like hiking if you can also add budget friendly ways to keep you moving and keep you fit.
You’ll likely spend a large amount of time sitting in lectures or bent over the books and this movement is vital to keeping you healthy.
Choose Activities You Enjoy
There’s nothing worse than trying to start a new habit like exercising regularly when you’re doing something that you hate.
Trying to motivate yourself to go to the gym after a full day of classes is hard enough without the added burden that your workout feels like a punishment.
To get around this, look and find out if your college provides classes or sports societies you can join for activities you enjoy.
“Personally, I’ve never been one to feel comfortable going to the gym and working out due to social anxiety,” says Dion Olsen, a fitness writer. “However, swimming and yoga have always been activities I enjoy and focussing on those makes working out feel more like a fun hobby than a chore.”
Sports societies are also great ways to make new friends and connections, which can be a great help if you’ve moved for college, while also allowing you to learn a new skill that you might never have thought to try before.
Memberships tend to be affordable with a flat fee paid at the student union and the ability to join as many societies as you like so you can experiment and find what suits you. Some of these sports may require you to eventually buy equipment, but this is a good way to dip your toes in before you commit.
Have a Workout Buddy
Self-motivation is all well and good, but we humans are social creatures and having someone to cheer you on who’s working out alongside you can be incredibly helpful to keep you on target. If someone is waiting for you to show up, you’re less likely to ditch the gym.
This can be a good way to bond with new roommates or classmates, but it is also a good way to make use of those sport society connections. If you have someone else in a society you’ve joined willing to join you on your workouts outside the society, you can better target your exercising to the right areas while having a shared goal to work towards.
If you don’t stay hydrated your brain won’t function, but so many of us get lost in those sugary energy drinks and forget that water may in fact be the better option. Invest in a refillable water bottle you can carry in your book bag so you can stay hydrated on the go and have water for your workouts later.
Most campuses have water fountains you can use to refill your water bottle throughout the day, and overall, this can be incredibly good for your wallet as you potentially spend less on expensive sugary, caffeinated beverages.
Create a Schedule
Creating a schedule can help you block out time to exercise and make it a priority in your daily routine. We all have good intentions but when your schedule is packed and you’re trying to balance it with an active social life it is easy to forget the basics. Plan out small but regular exercise slots to ensure you get workouts in where possible.
Try and Make Healthier Choices
It’s easier said than done but one of the simple ways to improve your fitness is to try and make healthier choices. Create a meal plan for your week and stick to it in order to cut down on the takeaways while keeping your overall food costs down.
For those days where you are busy and more likely to be tempted by convenience, have batch meals created and frozen that you can quickly cook in order to have something easy to make that is kinder on your wallet and waistline.
Swapping to drinking water more keeps you more hydrated and healthier while reducing the amount of money spent on sugary drinks and caffeine. If you are going out drinking its worthwhile spacing drinks with water in order to prevent having a massive hangover the next day.
It also helps prevent you drinking yourself into a dangerous situation. Drinking more water can even make your skin look healthier.
When you meet a goal or have stuck to your routine as planned take the time to reward yourself. This is something that can be hard to do or hard to manage depending on your personality, but it keeps you motivated and on track as you go forward.
Have a look at what student discounts are available to you that can help you save the pennies. Ask your grocery store if they do a student discount, if they do you may find you can afford to buy healthier groceries on your budget.
If your campus doesn’t have the facilities or sports you wish to take part in, have a look at if any local gyms or studios will provide you a student discount to allow you to do activities you enjoy. Finally, if you have joined a society and are enjoying a sport and want to commit, it’s worth checking if the sporting goods store provides you with a discount for goods as you can save a lot on buying the equipment you need.
It also means if you want to do home workouts you can get basic equipment like a yoga mat for less than you might pay online.
In the end, staying fit as a student can be tricky but it is in no way impossible. Looking at what your college offers is a good first step and you may even find that it manages to give you a decent social life if you join a society.
You can build small workouts in around your schedule and staying fit doesn’t need to break the bank. For more advice speak to your student union or student counsellors.
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