Exercising has plenty of benefits for students. You’ll release those all important endorphins that help you feel great while you'll also be in tip-top condition to learn all the interesting things you’re taught on your course.
Not being able to afford the gym or a personal trainer is no excuse; you can very easily work on your own fitness yourself at home and by making a few simple changes to your daily routine. Here are five ways to improve your fitness as a student:
1. Be your own personal trainer
You don’t need to pay over the odds for a gym membership or a personal trainer because in fact, you can create your very own free workout to do at home, which - depending on the level of your fitness - can take less than a quarter of an hour.
Exercises like planks, push-ups and crunches are free and are excellent at working out your core muscles, while your upper body, abdominals and back will also be getting a solid workout.
A 10-minute workout you can try might go something like this:
12 press ups
12 dumbbell curls
1 minute plank
The workout does require your own dumbbells however, that shouldn’t be a problem as you can pick them up on the cheap from places like Amazon and once bought, they will be a nice long-term investment you can use for years!
If you repeat the routine four times, alternating the planks with two side planks (left and right) and a half and full plank, you’ll certainly begin to notice the differences to your body after only a week or so.
And the best thing is, you can do this workout as soon as you wake-up and it will put you in the perfect mood to go and attack the day. To really push yourself, combine the workout with running and your cardiovascular conditioning and core strength will improve no-end.
Try extending the planks as you get fitter and try to hold them as long as possible, challenge yourself to do a five minute plank...good luck.
2. Get appy
Smartphones aren’t just for wasting time sending selfies on Snapchat. You can make better use of your handset by downloading handy training apps that help you monitor your fitness progress, while also getting you in a competitive mood by comparing your personal bests with your friends’.
Strava (a great social app for cycle, running, hiking and swimming)
Fitbit (another social app which uses a smartwatch to track footsteps)
MapMyRun (fantastic for creating routes and getting to know your local area)
These apps also have desktop features so when you’ve got back from your activity, you’ll be able to analyse how you’re doing on your computer which is a lot handier than on a smaller mobile screen.
3. Walk (or cycle) everywhere
Take in the famous sights of your university city on your daily commute. Not only will walking or cycling to your destination mean you won’t have to endure public transport or traffic jams, but you'll get there faster and be in a better mood when you arrive.
Also, if you ride to lectures and back every day of the week, that’s up to ten quick bursts of exercise you can fit seamlessly into your life.
If there’s a day when the weather is putting you off and you’re thinking about taking an alternative mode of transport, remember that there’s no bad weather for exercise, just bad clothing!
4. Join a sports team
Joining a sports club and playing a sport you love (or trying a new one altogether) is a fantastic way to relieve some stress and see some competitive action, while it’s a great way to get fit and make new friends at the same time. Universities have sport clubs of all kinds, from netball to cycling, cross-country and more - it’s just up to you to get off the sofa and find them!
5. Go outdoors
You might not know it when you arrive, but your city will have wonderful green spaces you can use to your advantage. Look at a map and see if there are any parks nearby that you can use for your morning run or where you can take alternative routes home from uni.
If you are in London, the Royal Parks are one option for you, while you could also take your running shoes and go for an early morning jog, basking in the peacefulness of the river and Southbank before everyone else gets up. Then, once you’ve done your workout, treat yourself to a nutrition-filled breakfast to fuel your studies later in the day!
Being busy with your studies is no excuse to avoid exercise. In fact, getting active will increase your ability to concentrate and will improve your brainpower, helping you along the way to better results when it’s time to graduate.