Seven Quick Ways to Stay Fit if You Are a Student

Constant flow of homework, never-ending assignments, and social life leave little room for exercising. If you, too, feel guilty about not staying in shape while in school, take a look at the tips that I came up with over a year of studying in the UK. These tricks won’t take up much of your time and are easy to follow – but they do require some will power. Which ones will work best for you?

Drink Water

Over the course of each night, our bodies lose a lot of water. In order to start all processes in the organism, it is a good habit to start your day with a glass of water. Whether it’s warm or cold, with lemon, honey, or still, prepare a glass and have a kettle filled so that in the morning it takes you seconds. Also, invest in a water bottle and drink plenty throughout the day and your skin will say thank you.

Plan Your Breakfast

As regards breakfast, know what you’re going to eat in advance. For me, it’s usually oatmeal with fruit or poached eggs with toast. Before going to bed, I put some oats in a bowl or a pot and have bananas and a knife ready on the counter. So in the morning I just pour some water in the pot/bowl and leave it to cook while I’m brushing my teeth.

Schedule Your Sports Sessions

I live by this rule. Treat your sports time the same way you would treat an appointment or a class. This way, you will take your work-outs seriously, thus increasing the chances of not skipping them. During term time, I had second and third periods free on Tuesday mornings, and my college started offering optional badminton sessions during the third period.  Given the way my brain has always worked, the word “optional” meant “can be neglected”. And since I really wanted to commit to those sessions, I actually blocked time for badminton in my timetable.

The result:  By treating sports as compulsory I managed to do badminton every week and also schedule my tasks so that I didn’t consider that an extra free period to get something else done.

A friend of mine did the same trick with the dance classes she attended every Thursday at 7 pm for six months. So if treating work-outs as an appointment isn’t enough, losing money if you miss the classes you signed up for might trigger a greater sense of commitment.

Fried or Steamed?

Sports make a good beginning, but if you want to have long-lasting results, also consider what you eat. You have control over what you put on your plate whether you’re on a meal plan or you cook for yourself. A few tips:

  • Don’t eliminate some foods completely. Eat whatever you want, but in moderation.
  • Maintain a balance between fried food and steamed food. You don’t need all that extra grease. So, for example, if you have fried chicken, take some steamed vegetables as a side dish.
  • Have some snacks at hand. It’s good to boost your sugar levels a bit while studying.
  • Have your last meal two hours before going to bed. The digestive system slows down towards the end of the day, so try not to overload it in the night time. Having a glass of kefir or some yogurt before bed might be an option.

Gym Membership vs Yoga Mat vs Not Buying Anything

It really depends on the person, but sometimes having all the equipment at hand isn’t as useful as regular exercising. When I had a gym membership which included unlimited use of the swimming pool, I still didn’t go there every day. Maybe once or twice a week. In the first couple of months. And then it just came to naught. When I didn’t feel like doing yoga, I thought it was because I didn’t have a yoga mat and elastic bands for stretching. Purchasing all the equipment helped for the first two days… Take a moment to think why it is that you want to exercise. Having a goal like “To get rid of the muffin top”/ “To make my waist more defined”/ “To have less back pain” will help you stay on track.

Conclusion: If you think that you’re not doing sports right now because you don’t have a gym membership/weights/new PE kit/etc., the reality might be there was not enough conviction backing up your decision to do sports to begin with. Before spending money, think about ways to exercise for free such as jogging, doing squats and push-ups, using stairs. And if over time you stick to your work-outs, then upgrade your sessions.

Take Athletic Challenges and Breaks

I bet you also spend the majority of your day in front of a laptop. If so, challenge yourself to take breaks for athletics. Do a few squats or push-ups when doing homework, or look out the window to relax your eyes when you have a moment in a class. I remember challenging myself to do a squat every time I said a particular word throughout the day. So that’s what I did despite the fact I was in a seminar, at a dinner table, on the bus, and so on. Silly? Yes. Effective? Very.

Listening to Podcasts While Exercising

I think you know this one. A lot of us who like being productive every minute of the day can’t imagine working out in silence. I tend to listen to TED talks while warming up or some educational videos on YouTube if I need to catch up with a topic. You can learn a language, listen to a podcast, listen to videos from an online course while exercising. What is it that you might like to tune in to?

Photo: Shutterstock

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