As a freshman in college, you probably heard horror stories of the dreaded “freshman 15.” People often criticize new college students and their ability to gain weight due to stress, unhealthy food choices, and a lack of time spent exercising. For some, the pressure of gaining weight is another added stress to the already difficult credit load. Fortunately, you’ll find that exercising in college isn’t as difficult as people make it seem.
Many universities offer a free gym with free fitness classes to students. These gyms are usually large with a variety of different machines to use. You might as well make the most out of your tuition and use the free resources at the gym to take a study break and work out. You can also try fitness classes like yoga, cycling, Zumba or kickboxing. Fitness classes can help you make friends, discover a new hobby, and feel energized.
If you don’t feel like hitting the university gym, your dorm or apartment complex may have a workout room. Complexes like Northpoint in Rexburg have state of the art exercise equipment for residents to use. Working out at your dorm or complex gym can lessen the effort of going to the gym and make it easier to motivate yourself.
For most students, the hardest part of working out is finding motivation. If you know you have a hard time pumping yourself up to go sweat, find a buddy to go with. Exercising with a friend keeps you accountable for showing up to your work out, plus it gives you time to socialize! You can also try a workout app to give you exercise ideas and tips. Wearing (appropriate) gym clothes to class might also be a motivator to hit the gym once your lecture is over.
Join a Sports Team
I’m not saying you should try to walk on to your college’s soccer team, but most schools do offer an intramural sports program that can help you exercise and feel involved. Many students were a part of sports teams in high school, and college allows you to keep progressing in those hobbies. Some colleges will even offer programs your high school might not have had, like ultimate frisbee or kickball. Joining an intramural team can add a fun and team element to your workout.
Take a Break
Let’s face it, you’ve been in class all day, you have a mountain of homework to do, not to mention studying for that final coming up, and you haven’t slept more than five hours all week. It can be tough to find time to work out, but it might just be the break you need.
Taking a physical break helps you study. If you can’t focus on the words in your textbook, go for a quick run around your building or do some stretches in your room. Exercising helps you maintain focus, so a quick break may be all your body needs. Working out also helps get your blood pumping and counteracts the feelings of sluggishness that always seem to occur during a long study session.
Make It Enjoyable
Working out in college is important and shouldn’t be something you dread. Don’t force yourself to go to the gym for an hour and lift weights if you hate it. Find a type of exercise you enjoy and do that. At the bare minimum, you should be working out for 15-30 minutes, three times a week; if you skip one of those days, it’s not a big deal. Remember, working out is for you. Focus on your studies and your health, not the freshman 15.