How to Stay Fit in College: 5 Essential Healthy Living Tips
Staying Fit in College The Simple Way
With everything else going on, figuring out how to stay fit in college can sound like an insurmountable task. You’re just too busy, right?
The thing is, it’s totally doable.
And, keeping your healthy habits simple is the trick to making it happen.
In today’s post, I’m going to share 5 tips for staying fit in college.
Tip#1: Prioritize Your Health
Health is usually one of the first things to go when life gets busy. Exercising, sleeping, and even eating are easy things to pass on when you need an extra hour to complete an assignment.
The long-term effects of neglecting your health can hurt your grades much more than running out of time to study for a quiz.
Pushing your body and mind to its limits leaves your energy on empty. While you might not feel like you have a choice about how late you stay up or how often you have to skip meals, you do.
Being busy doesn’t make you more successful. Being busy just makes you busy.
Pushing yourself to your physical limits isn’t alright just “because you’re young.” Your body actually needs more sleep now compared to when you’re older.
Getting good sleep, consistently exercising, and eating meals at least a few times a day may seem impossible.
But even if your schedule is busy and chaotic, you can take steps to make your health a priority.
The first step to being healthy and exercising in college is prioritizing your health now. Before the craziness of college midterms and finals come, you need to determine that your health is going to be a priority.
Start by telling yourself that you’re going to stick to a routine.
Tip #2: Establish a Regular Routine
I know – a routine sounds boring and annoying. Especially if you want to have the freedom to socialize in college.
Contrary to what you might think…
Routine is essential for having a healthy balance between classes and a social life. Without routine, you have little to no guarantee that you’ll be able to complete your daily to-do list.
Routine is your friend, not your enemy.
Eating, exercising, and sleeping all need to be a regular part of your daily routine. And exercise is usually the first thing to go when life gets hectic.
Understanding how to get fit in college takes more than just good intentions. The goals you set at the beginning of the semester don’t stand a chance without structure.
Avoid this pitfall by:
Making exercise a regular and fixed part of your routine.
There may be days where you have to cut down on your exercise time, but be sure to always include it in your schedule.
Depending on what kind of workout you’re doing:
Multitasking may be a workaround. You can study while walking on a treadmill or using a stationary bike. When in a bind, see if you can combine these two tasks, rather than choosing not to exercise.
Tip #3: Schedule Exercise When It Makes Sense
College student daily schedule’s are full of classes, work, studying, homework, and personal interests. If you don’t plan to exercise, it won’t happen.
Just as important as planning to exercise is choosing the right time to exercise.
If you’re the type of person who dreads exercising but likes to socialize, you may find that choosing a time when other students are working out will help you stick to a routine.
If you’re a person who dreads exercising but likes having some alone time, you may find that choosing a time when most students are in class or asleep will help you stick to a routine.
The point is to know yourself. Consider other factors that help motivate you besides the obvious.
Benefits of Exercising in College Include…
1. Exercise a great way to de-stress from classes.
If you have trouble with new routines, try getting in workouts immediately after your last class. Most colleges have a fitness center on campus you can utilize.
It’s harder to justify skipping a day or three when you don’t have to go out of your way to do it.
2. Physical activity can help get you going in the morning.
Working out early each day is proven to be an excellent way to wake up your mind and body.
A 2019 study concluded that morning exercise improves focus, learning, and decision-making.
3. It’s a way to spend more time with friends.
Working out with friends you wouldn’t otherwise see can help you combine the tasks of having a social life and staying healthy.
It’s best to customize your workout schedule with your weekly schedule. Your routine all depends on you, so don’t feel like you have to workout at a specific time every day.
With a little planning, you can shake up your routine. Different types of workouts may work better for you on different days.5 Simple Tips for Staying Fit in College That Really Work
Tip #4: Choose Workouts You Enjoy
Exercising doesn’t have to be a soul-sucking, life-draining, miserable part of your day.
Running on a treadmill or at a local park isn’t for everyone, so don’t feel like you have to do what others do.
Before choosing your workouts:
Think about what your goals are. Know what you’re trying to accomplish before you pick your workout routines.
If you’re training for a 5k, you’re likely going to spend most days running. But if you’re merely trying to ward of the freshman 15, fat-burning workouts will be your focus.
Consider your body type. If you have any special limitations (like a past injury), working around them is important. Causing harm to yourself is the opposite of what you’re tying to achieve by staying fit in college.
How to Workout in College
1. Choose workout routines with some variety.
Every day shouldn’t be leg day! Rotate between different muscle groups to avoid being excessively sore.
Be sure you include cardio and weights. If you want to be truly in shape, a well-balanced exercise routine is necessary.
2. Choose workout routines that you can adapt for inside exercise.
The weather is going to get too cold or too wet to workout outside. Don’t let that be an excuse to give up on working out.
If you don’t have access to an exercise facility, exercising in your dorm room is possible too.
3. Choose workout routines that allow for off-days.
There will be some days where you simply don’t want to exercise.
Whether you have a cold or you bombed a test, workouts that are short and simple will be extremely valuable.
When you’re just not feeling it, don’t stress over exactly how you exercise. It’s more important that you’re just doing something instead of nothing.
Choosing a college workout routine may sound like a lot of work, but there’s no need to over complicate it. Sticking to a workout routine means providing some flexibility to avoid boredom or making excuses.
Plan to succeed by picking physical activities you enjoy.
Tip #5: Find Accountability for Staying Fit
The final piece of how to get fit in college is accountability. It’s a must.
When accountability is optional, so is exercising.
The trick to accountability is figuring out what motivates you.
Some students are more motivated by friends than money. Other care more about checking off an item from a to-do list than bailing on a workout buddy.
Figure out what truly motivates you. This may take some experimenting, or you might figure it out right away.
Keep in mind that:
You want the consequences to be real. Skipping exercising is less of an option when the repercussions are painful.
On the other hand:
Positive motivation (i.e. rewarding yourself) can get you going more than a negative consequence.
For example, you could reward yourself with a brunch outing after exercising consistently for 2 weeks. Staying in reward mode can get expensive quickly, but it may be the motivation you need in the beginning to stick with your routine.
How to Get Fit in College Recap
Being healthy is a choice to embrace a lifestyle.
It can be as straightforward as:
- Making the conscious decision to be healthy
- Establishing a routine
- Picking a time that works with your schedule
- Choosing workouts you enjoy
- & finding accountability.
Remember, exercising can be a part of your day you actually enjoy!
More tips for being healthy:
- 60+ Cheap & Healthy Recipes for College Students
- Healthy Snacks for Dorms: HUGE List of Yummy Ideas
- How to Eat Healthy in College Without Spending a Fortune
About Guest Author, Sara Pennington
Sara Pennington is an educator with experience teaching both high school students and college freshmen. Her blog, Segue to College, provides practical tips to conquer college life and classes. Her book The Complete Guide to Your Freshman Year of College helps new college students face the social, academic, dorm, and family challenges of freshmen year. Her passion is helping freshmen adjust to college and helping college parents adjust to this new stage of parenting.