As the buzz of the New Year winds down, it’s time to get serious about those New Year’s goals we all made – one of which always revolves around being a healthier version of ourselves in the coming year. As a student, the new year means new courses, new assignments and new stresses, but it also means new opportunities for you to find great ways to relax – one of the best being exercise! In this blog I’m sharing a few tips about how to stay fit at university – all year round!
- Try new activities
To be quite honest, sometimes exercising can be a burden, so you really need to find something that you enjoy. Most universities have multiple student societies dedicated to an array of sports including rock climbing, yoga, badminton, pole dancing and even hitchhiking. These societies usually have ‘taster sessions’ at the beginning of the year, but if not, you can always do a ‘drop in’ session to try out their classes. Just give it a go – you’ve got nothing to lose and you may find a new hobby that you completely fall in love with!
- Join a gym/workout
Joining a gym is one of the best ways to commit yourself to staying fit, simply because no one likes to waste money. Most universities have gyms which are usually cheaper than the public ones, with the added bonus that you can make friends on campus! But if you’re by-passing the uni gym remember the #1 rule for picking a gym is that it should be close to either your university or your home because if it takes too much effort to get there you won’t go – Trust me! Also, if you’re really intimated by joining a gym, sign up for the free training/orientation sessions that gyms offer so you can get comfortable with the equipment and feel more confident. If the gym isn’t for you though, you can always exercise at home – check out this YouTube link for some great at-home workouts.
- Get a fitness buddy
Having a fitness buddy is great because he/she holds you accountable and helps you remain committed to your fitness program. A fitness buddy also makes workouts more fun, and can also make the gym or sport feel less intimidating. Being consistent is the hardest part of exercising, and the motivation and support of a fitness buddy is a huge help.
- Use Fitness Apps
One of the greatest tools to help you stay in shape is your cell phone. Fitness apps are fantastic because they allow you to monitor your diet and exercise, which is crucial to achieving your fitness goals. My favourite free app that I use almost daily is ‘My Fitness Pal’ which allows you to track your meals (you can even scan barcodes) and input your exercise for the day so that you know how much calories you need to burn to reach your goals. However, there are hundreds of other apps that you can use and tailor to fit you and your lifestyle (see our related post on the apps you need here). You can also invest in fitness tracker watches and gadgets (click here) if you feel a bit spendy!
- Watch your diet
Unfortunately, like most students I have had an on-and-off relationship with dieting. However, over the years I’ve found that balance really should be your focus. Everyone loves junk food (I myself an unapologetic KFC addict) but it’s important to treat junk food as a ‘treat’ and not a ‘staple’ in your diet. I find it works best to eat well 70% of the time and treat myself the remainder of the time. Trust me when I say that you will feel better when you eat better. So give it a try and while you’re at it check out theses great tips from Nottingham Uni here. ! **Also, drink more water…I swear this helps almost any ailment.
- Maintain a healthy relationship with food
It’s also important that while trying to stay fit you make sure that you maintain a healthy relationship with food. Severe dieting or over-indulging are both unhealthy in the long-run and can potentially cause long-term damage to your body. If you find yourself developing harmful eating habits then reach out to your university’s health centre or student advising teams for guidance. You can also check out this great article by the Charity BEAT for more information – click here!
- Pay attention to the small stuff
Finally, ‘staying active’ doesn’t only refer to participating in sports. You can commit to fitness by simply walking instead of catching the bus or taking the stairs and not the elevator. These small daily steps add up and help you remain healthier. Also, getting enough sleep and allowing your body time for recovery is also critical in ensuring you don’t get run down and can live a healthy and active life!
I hope these tips help you on your way to staying fit!
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