Ways to Maintain Your Fitness Whilst at University 2020
NOTE: This is an external article from an external author with no affiliation with the Students' Union. To contact the author you can email Chloe Walker at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you’re a student, it can be harder than ever to find time to workout, especially if you’re on a tight budget. You have a full study schedule, a busy social life and you want to make the most of your newly found freedom. On top of that, the coronavirus restrictions mean that it’s harder still. However, if you want to stay fit, better manage your stress and fulfil your study potential, it’s important that you find time to stay fit.
With that in mind, here are some easy ways you can easily slot fitness into student life.
Make a plan
- Create a workout schedule and you’re more likely to find time to fit those moments of exercise and stay in shape. Otherwise it’s far too easy to prioritise everything else and forget that you need to move your body too.
- Start by thinking about what kind of exercise you enjoy doing and how you can fit it into your average week.
- For example, could you go running three times a week on specific days? Or fire up the laptop and follow a bodyweight workout on YouTube? Maybe a daily yoga session before breakfast is more your style?
- Whatever you prefer, get your plan down on paper to help keep you accountable then stick to it!
Workout at home
These days there are tons of great online workout options that will help you build your strength, improve your flexibility, give you an awesome cardio workout and keep you in tip top shape.
Unlike many other workout options, you can do them at a time that fits your schedule and won’t even need to leave campus if you don’t want to. Just fire up your computer, pull on some comfortable clothes and you’re ready to get started.
Why not choose a stress-relieving yoga flow? Or a short-intense HIIT workout? Maybe a powerful strength workout, sweaty cardio sessions or a fun dance workout would better suit your needs?
According to a 2013 study by the University of Essex, outdoor exercise can provide the best health benefits, improving your fitness whilst also supporting your mental health.
“...outdoor natural environments may provide some of the best all-round health benefits by increasing physical activity levels with lower levels of perceived exertion, altering physiological functioning including stress reduction, restoring mental fatigue, and improving mood and self-esteem and perceived health.”
This makes it particularly beneficial if you’re struggling to balance the demands of your studies with the rest of your life.
Whether you choose to lace up those running shoes, get out on the bike or simply head for a walk, getting outside is a fantastic way to look and feel at your best.
Play a non-contact team sport
The UK government announced on Monday 1st June 2020 that we can enjoy certain team sports such as tennis, badminton and squash again, despite the social distancing restrictions that are in place.
This is great news if you love the social aspect of fitness, you love a cardio workout that works your agility and strength at the same time, or if you just love tennis.
Be aware that you will still need to maintain social distancing by staying at least two metres apart. It’s also a good idea to use hand sanitiser gel, wash your hands often and avoid sharing drinks, food items or sports equipment such as racquets and bats.
If you don’t already own your own racquet, visit some first class tennis shops or sports stores to find what you need.
Use an app
There are literally thousands of smartphone apps that can help take care of your fitness even if you can’t get to a gym.
These include Charity Miles, Nike Training Club, Fiit, Freeletics, Down Dog, Streaks and Carrot Fit which feature everything from HIIT sessions, strength training, bodyweight workouts, yoga sessions and more.
Most of these are either free or very affordable, making them great for those limited student budgets.
Get plenty of sleep
With all the freedom that comes from student life, it’s uber tempting to stay up late and sacrifice a few hours of sleep.
But the truth is, if you want to maintain your fitness and performance, you’re going to have to get enough sleep and rest.
“...rest and recovery is also an important aspect of an exercise program because it allows the body time to repair and strengthen itself in between workouts,” say researchers from Michigan State University, “It also allows the athlete to recover, both physically and psychologically.”
It’s not just your fitness that will improve when you prioritise your rest. You’ll perform better in class, you’ll feel much less stressed and you’ll have tons of energy too.
There are many ways you can stay fit whilst you’re at university without having to sacrifice your study time or miss out on your social life.
Sign up for your university sports club or gym, try an online workout, get outside, and get enough sleep and you’ll find it easy to stay fit at university.