College students are in tip-top shape and do not have to worry about exercise, right? Well, no. Even with walking or biking to classes included in what they do, many students may find themselves living a much more sedentary life than what they would prefer or at least know what they should pursue. With busy schedules to manage, exercise can become an afterthought, but there are many ways students can incorporate it into their lives without sucking up their time.
1. Walk wherever possible.
Walking will keep you limber and help you manage your weight, your mind and your outlook on life. Instead of taking the elevator up to the third floor of the science center, why not take the stairs? The shuttle bus between campuses may save you a few minutes, but if you have the time, why not walk instead? Look for various ways that you can carve up an exercise routine by rethinking how you get from point A to point B.
2. Do what you like to do.
Exercise can quickly become boring if you take on an activity that you really do not like to do. Not everyone likes to run or ride a bicycle — you can find ways to get and keep moving by playing a variety of sports including table tennis. Whatever has you on your feet and moving can increase your heart rate and help you burn calories.
3. Take an exercise class.
For some students, exercise is all about the camaraderie. Perhaps you simply do not want to exercise by yourself. In that case you can explore the various exercise classes offered on campus. You only need to commit to 20 to 30 minutes for three times each week. The other days you can walk, bike, hike or engage in free play with your friends.
4. Lunch and run.
Chances are you have a significant break between your morning and afternoon classes, time that you only wished you had while you were in high school. That extended time can still yield a relaxing and enjoyable meal, but the remainder of the time can be used for exercising. If your college has a swimming pool, get in some laps. If the tennis courts are available, make an appointment with a friend to get in a game or two. Even a quickly organized game of co-ed volleyball in the pit by the student center can yield much satisfaction.
5. Join the college gym.
The college gym should be open to students except perhaps when occupied by the football or wrestling teams for strength training. Lift those weights, take Pilates, engage in martial arts or shadow box. Assemble a team of your friends or make new friends by regularly participating. If your college does not have a gym or if your gym is overpacked with jocks, consider an off-campus gym. Most will offer discounts for college students, even short-term memberships to match your semester.
6. Walk on to a sports team.
If you played sports while in high school, but are not part of a college team, don’t let that stop you from trying out. Many colleges allow students to try out for a team on a walk on basis, with no guarantee of a scholarship for their efforts. What you will gain is a regular exercise regimen with professional trainers to help you learn the best techniques for getting and staying in shape.
Establishing and maintaining an exercise regimen while in college will serve you well throughout your life. You will prove to yourself that you can do it and will begin to model a pattern that will stay with you as you mature. As we age, putting on weight becomes easy to do, something that can adversely affect your health if not managed. So, start finding ways to get in the exercise habit today and supplement that with good eating habits as well.