The biggest problem I had when I first started college was that I had played three sports in high school. Actually, that itself wasn’t the problem. The problem was that I didn’t play three sports in college. For four years in high school, I could count on three hours of regular physical activity every day after school. That was 15 hours of exercise every week that went out the window when I went away to college. I wasn’t going to play football at Notre Dame, or anything else for that matter, so the onus was on me to inject exercise into my daily routine.
It was a struggle at first, but over time, I learned a few simple tips that made it easy to get a decent workout during the week without sacrificing much. These little things can help you work some exercise into your daily schedule, and can also keep you from getting tired or bored with your routine.
- Learn to love walking. It may not seem like much at first, but some extra walking can really add up over the long run. In addition to walking to class, you should try to walk to every meal as well as take a take a few breaks during the day to go for a stroll. If you find it difficult to get started, try just walking for five minutes out the door, then turn and come back. Do that three times over the course of a day, and that’s 30 minutes of physical activity you wouldn’t otherwise get.
- Take advantage of study breaks. Taking a break and getting a few minutes of exercise can be a great way to refresh and rejuvenate your mind. You’ll take a short break anyway, so why not go for a walk or do a handful of pushups and sit-ups during that time. It may not sound as fun as turning on the TV or checking your email, but you’ll feel much better afterwards.
- Find a friend. There are numerous advantages to finding a friend or partner for your workouts. In addition to sharing the misery with someone on a difficult day, having a friend can help to keep you motivated on days when you’d rather go anywhere else other than the gym. Working out with a friend can be more fun too. A little bit of competition can help boost your workout, and just having someone to talk to between exercises can make the time go faster.
- Change it up. One of the biggest reasons people stop working out is that the process just gets tedious or boring after a while. One way to fix this is to change up your routine regularly. If you’re a gym rat, try walking or jogging around campus or the nearby town. If you’re tired of jogging, find a basketball game or something similar and get involved. The most important thing is to be active – regardless of what you’re doing. Did you know you can even burn calories bowling? College students have access to so many different facilities these days, so it should be easy to find something you love.
- Enjoy what you do. The one thing that will make or break your exercise routine is your enjoyment of it. When you dislike something, it becomes easier and easier to find something else you’d rather do instead. Find an activity you enjoy, and keep at it. That way you’ll be more likely to make the time for it during the day. It doesn’t matter what that thing is – as long as you’re active, you’ll reap the benefits.