Easy Ways to Integrate Exercise Into Your Daily College Routine

easy ways to add exericise

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  • Free time is hard to come by when you’re a full-time college student. Think about where your time goes.

    You spend 12-16 hours a week sitting at a desk or in a lecture hall. Another 17 hours go toward study sessions, homework, and reviewing your notes.

    And hopefully, you’re collecting eight hours of sleep per night for a grand total of 56 hours a week.

    Last but not least, you dedicate any spare time to your social life while you still have one. Exercise all but takes the backburner.

    But it doesn’t have to!

    Here are seven easy ways to integrate exercise into your daily college routine.

    1. Avoid the On-Campus Gym During Peak Times

    It’s hard to squeeze in a “quick” workout when the gym is packed. Suddenly, that 15-minute workout turns into a 45-minute nightmare of waiting your turn.

    And why wouldn’t this be true?

    There are thousands — or even tens of thousands — of college students on a budget sharing 50 machines at a free24/7 gym.

    But it’s not always crowded.

    The best time to hit the college gym is before the first classes of the day begin (i.e., 8 a.m. or earlier) or when social events occur (i.e., Friday & Saturday nights).

    Get in. Get out. And go on with your day.

    In other words, avoid afternoons and evenings at all costs. Well, that’s unless you like sharing equipment, waiting for a treadmill to open up, or being around huge crowds.

    Join a Recreational or Intramural Sports League

    “Exercise” doesn’t have to mean weightlifting or going for a run. Plus, the gym atmosphere isn’t for everyone, and simple workouts can quickly become boring.

    To the sports enthusiasts out there:

    Find out if your college hosts recreational or intramural sports leagues on campus.

    Intramural leagues bring the retired athletes and competitive folks at your university down to the turf — or court — for some good old-fashioned fun.

    Some sports offered include:

    1. Floor hockey and field hockey
    2. Baseball and softball
    3. Basketball
    4. Flag football
    5. Ultimate Frisbee
    6. Dodgeball

    And the best part is, these leagues don’t require a huge commitment.

    Most leagues host games or events once a week. That means you don’t have to choose between studying for an exam or playing an hour of Ultimate Frisbee.

    Attend Free Fitness Classes On Campus

    College may be expensive, but there are a few free “perks” on campus that make it all worth it.

    Free fitness classes are one of them.

    Head down to your college’s recreational center or student activity center, and you’ll probably find a bulletin board full of fitness class fliers.

    You may find class offerings like:

    1. Swimming and water aerobics
    2. Yoga
    3. Zumba
    4. Cycling
    5. Circuit training
    6. CrossFit

    Unlike a normal gym where you have to pay $15 a session or pre-register, you can show up for whatever class fits your schedule.

    Try yoga today, cycling tomorrow, and swimming next week.

    These lifetime activities won’t just keep you active in college but will also give you more exercise options as you move into adulthood.

    Walk Around Campus Between Classes

    There’s nothing worse than those awkward 10-30 minutes between college courses.

    It’s not enough time to go back to your dorm or attend a group study session. But it’s a little too long to sit in your next classroom and wait for class to begin.

    Go for a walk instead!

    Many colleges have loops around campus, extend out into the city, or have a paved walking trail on campus.

    All are great atmospheres for logging a few hundred steps between classes.

    Add a little pep into your step, and you can add 1,200-3,600 steps to your daily count. And you’ll also feel more awake and ready to learn by the time your next class starts.

    You don’t need 30+ minutes to work out!

    Skip the Shuttle Bus, Trolley, or Car Ride

    The allure of attending a large university cannot be understated. Yet, sprawling college campuses also come with large distances between your classes and dorm.

    You become overly-reliant on the shuttle, trolley, and your car to get where you need to go.

    But there are other options.

    Assuming you’re within a few miles of class and have some time to spare, ditch the automotives and stick to manual transportation instead.

    Walk to class if you’re within a half-mile.

    Bike to destinations a few miles away.

    And don’t be afraid to get a little creative. You wouldn’t be the first college student to travel to class using a skateboard, longboard, scooter, or even rollerblades!

    Enroll in a Fitness-Based Class for Credit

    Electives are either your favorite or least favorite part of earning credit. You can choose course topics that interest you, but some electives seem like a waste of time.

    Save yourself some time and money.

    Instead, enroll in fitness or sport-related electives to earn college credit while also getting four hours of exercise a week!

    Most colleges have some sort of physical education or exercise science department.

    Along with these departments comes courses like:

    1. Team sports
    2. Individual sports
    3. Yoga
    4. Dance
    5. Sport-specific classes (i.e., entire courses on basketball, soccer, or softball)

    You can’t use “I don’t have time to workout” as an excuse anymore, right?

    Stick to Shorter, More Efficient Workouts

    Some weeks, you may not have open blocks in your schedule to squeeze in a 30-minute workout at the on-campus gym.

    That’s okay!

    But that doesn’t mean skipping exercise that week entirely!

    Enter, HIIT.

    High-intensity interval training is exactly how it sounds. You’ll work out intensely for 10-60 seconds, take it easy or rest for 10-60 seconds, and then repeat the cycle.

    For example:

    Run for 20 seconds, jog for 40 seconds, and repeat for ten intervals.

    You can easily finish a 10-minute HIIT session between class and dinner. And better yet, it may be just as efficient in calorie-burning and cardio benefits as running.

    other valuable tips:


    Five 30-60-minute workouts a week would be nice. But you may not have five hours to spare on top of your already-busy collegiate schedule.

    Plus, it might not even be necessary.

    Yes, the gold standard is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. Yet you can achieve similar results in just 75 minutes if you crank up the intensity.

    The question isn’t should you exercise but rather how will you exercise

    Author Bio:
    Adam Marshall is a freelance writer specializing in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Paramount 3800 to help them with their online marketing.

    Image Credit: easy ways to add exericise by envato.com

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