Many high school students engage in some sort of fitness-related activity, whether it’s a varsity sport, a non-varsity sport, exercising just for fitness reasons, or working a job that requires physical activity. Maintaining the fitness that you’ve built throughout high school once you get to college, however, can be difficult.
To stay on track, you’ve got to make a conscious effort to make staying fit a priority. Here are a few tips to help you avoid gaining weight and losing fitness.
Make It Your Priority
First, it’s important to intentionally make exercising a priority. Set aside a specific amount of time every day, at the same time of day, to go for a walk, lift some weights, get on your bike, or play some pick-up basketball. If you can’t do it at the same time every day, plan your week in advance and mark the times that you’ll be physically active.
It doesn’t have to be a large amount of time—the ACSM recommends 30 minutes of moderately intense cardiovascular exercise (like running, swimming, cycling, cross-country skiing, or playing a fairly intense sport) five days a week, or 20 minutes of very intense exercise three days a week (you can see the rest of their guidelines here).
Set Your Goal
Setting goals can also be a great motivator. If you know that you need to lose some weight (if you’re not sure, ask your campus nurse or consult a body mass index chart), choose a date that you’d like to complete your weight loss by. Then set intermediate goals along the way to make sure that you stay on track. Recruit your friends to help keep you focused.
Find Some Interesting Activities
One of the best ways to stay in shape is to try several new activities to keep you active and doing things that interest you. Have you ever played ultimate before? Or racquetball? Boot hockey? Give intramural sports a shot and try some things that you’ve never done before. You’ll burn a lot of calories, make some new social connections, and maybe even find a sport that you love to do.
There are many important concepts to keep in mind when trying to stay in shape—but one of the most important ones is one of the simplest. It is, in short, “Little things add up to make big differences.” Keep this in mind in your day-to-day life and you’ll find that staying in shape might be easier than you expected.
- Walk to class every day, instead of driving, if you live close enough to campus.
- If you’re going off-campus to study, walk to a nearby coffee shop.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- If you’re meeting with a classmate to talk about a project, and don’t need a computer or a great deal of paper, go on a walk instead of sitting in the library.
It’s things like these that seem insignificant, but make a big difference over time. It’s all about making fitness a part of your life in college.