Plenty of colleges have fitness facilities available to all students on campus. An on-campus gym is a great tool that you can use to maintain your health and fitness while away at school.
But let's be honest, if you're not participating in a varsity sport, with class, homework, clubs and then of course maintaining some semblance of a social life, you might find that it's hard to fit fitness into your on-campus schedule.
In theory, a trip to the gym, even for a 30-minute workout, sounds like it should be doable. But with all the time it takes to get ready, get there, actually work out and then clean yourself up afterwards, a half hour workout can easily turn into a two-hour endeavor. That doesn't mean you're doomed to an inactive life as a busy college student, though.
Even if you won't have time to make it to the gym most days, there are plenty of things you can do to make sure you're still getting enough exercise once class is in session.
Bodyweight exercises are an excellent alternative to strength training with weights at a gym. The idea is to build strength and muscle by performing exercises that leverage the weight of, you guessed it, your own body as resistance.
The best part is, you can do these kinds of exercises anywhere, like in your dorm room, which means you can cut out all that in-between time needed to make a trip to the gym and get a great workout in about the time it would take you to cook a cup of Ramen noodles.
OK, so you might want to work out a little bit longer than that, but you get the idea.
The following ten bodyweight exercises were recommended as dorm-room-friendly by Will Owen, a fitness blogger who writes about how to stay fit while you travel (bodyweight exercises are a specialty of his) at TravelStrong.net.
“I've always found that having a routine makes exercising easier,” Owen said. “For example, when you finish work you go to the gym every day. Eventually that becomes something you just do. When I was at college, I actually found it harder to exercise regularly because my days weren't structured, and I was surrounded by people who didn't share the same goals as me.”
While your schedule is likely to vary from day to day while you’re at school, Owen still recommends that you create an exercise routine that you can commit to. For him, that meant exercising at the same time every day.
“It doesn't matter what sort of exercise you do, as long as you have a time to be active,” Owen said. “This not only works on a psychological level, but also taps into your circadian rhythm, which means that your body will always be ready to exercise at that particular time. When I was at college I used to get up before anybody else and go for a run. That worked perfectly for me, because I had it 'out of the way', and when I got back I was ready to start my day.”
Owen also recommends finding a buddy to work out with.
“That way, even if one of you can't be bothered, the other person will, hopefully, be able to motivate you,” he said.
Staying fit while you're on campus will sometimes prove to be a challenge, but if you incorporate strength moves like these into your routine two or three days per week, in addition to some cardio exercise like a club sport, running or cycling, you'll become a pro at balancing your schedule so that you always have at least a little bit of time for exercise.
Owen likes this move for warming up and activating the core. Begin standing tall, feet about hip-width distance apart and legs straight. Bend over folding at your hips so that you can place your hands on the floor about a foot, to a foot and half in front of you (you can bend your knees a bit if you need to). Slowly lower your body towards the floor by walking your hands forward, eventually ending up in a high-plank position. From here, walk your feet towards your hands, keeping your legs as straight as possible. Repeat the sequence for 8-12 repetitions.
Start standing tall with your feet about hip-width distance apart. Make sure that your feet are planted firmly on the ground. When you’re ready, slowly start to squat down, as if you were about to sit down in a chair behind you. Focus on pushing your hips back and keeping your torso upright. As you squat down you want to make sure that your chest stays lifted and that you do not fold forward at the hips. Also make sure that your knees stay in line with your ankles and to sit back into your heels. Your entire foot should stay firmly planted on the ground; make sure that your heels do not lift up off the floor. Pause for a moment in the squat position before you push through your feet and glutes to slowly stand back up to the starting position. Repeat the sequence for 8-12 repetitions.