Staying in shape in college can be tough. Classes, homework, and unlimited meal plans all make working out a challenge and a chore. However, staying healthy and active can help your brain function and lower stress, and there’s a great number of studies that suggest that students who stay active perform better academically. So, here at The Brief, we decided to give you a few tips on how to maintain a workout plan while staying on top of your classes, part-time jobs, and other responsibilities.
1.) Wear your workout clothes to class.
Most students fall behind in their workout routines simply because it’s not convenient – putting aside time in a busy schedule for exercise can be chaotic and even add to your stress. While wearing lifting shirts to lectures may require you to do a bit more laundry than you’re used to, it makes an after-school trip to the gym all the more convenient, which means you’re more likely to do it.
2.) Study at the gym.
While we’re on the topic of convenience, don’t let a trip to the gym be a gap in your study schedule. Time on a treadmill or a bike can be an opportunity to review some notes from class. Flashcards are also a good idea because they fit in your pocket and you can pull them out for a couple minutes of review any time. Those few minutes can add up over time and knock a couple hours off your exam review.
3.) Bike to class.
Instead of cramming in some study time at the gym, maybe you want to cram some workout time into your everyday routine. Biking to class gives you a chance to fit some cardio into your daily commute. Just like flashcards at the gym, the small effort will add up over time and end up having a larger impact on your health. Bikes can be especially convenient if you don’t have a car on campus or if you’re looking for an excuse to get away from everything for a while because bike rides a great way to clear your mind.
4.) Set goals, make a habit.
Make a habit of going to the gym after class every day (or however often you want to go). The best way to ensure you do this is to write down some concrete goals. Often students make new school year’s resolutions that are too ambiguous or ubiquitous to uphold. But, by making one or two definitive goals, you are more likely both to meet them and to maintain a healthy habit. For example, instead of telling yourself that you will be healthier this semester, tell yourself that you will go to the gym at least three times a week. Also, by writing your goals down on a piece of paper, it makes the promise to yourself more real and therefore more important to keep, even if no one else ever reads it.
5.) Lift a friend
Perhaps my favorite tool for getting anything done is to establish outer accountability, especially amongst other people. By choosing one of your friends to be your lifting buddy, you will (hopefully) feel more inclined to exercise because if you skip a workout, you miss an opportunity to socialize and you let down your friend (who may not be able to exercise without you, depending on the type of lifting). By choosing a lifting partner, you’ll also have someone in your life whose job it is to keep a close eye on your health in case you start to lose focus or get off track in the middle of the semester.
6.) Work with yourself
The best way to ensure that you maintain a workout routine is by knowing what works for you and what doesn’t. If the idea of outer accountability overwhelms you, don’t get a lifting partner. If learning a new skill sounds fun and exciting, organize that into your workouts. By taking some time at the beginning of the semester to plan a workout routine that is both convenient and sustainable for you, you can greatly improve your health over the course of the school year. Don’t make a routine for some ideal person you wish you could be. We all want to be able to front squat 200lbs like Becky, but we all can’t be Becky. Be you. If you plan your exercises for yourself, you will surely set yourself up for success.
Those are just a few of our tips on how to maintain an exercise routine in college. Do you have any other nuggets of workout wisdom? Let us know!