Keeping Fit at University
I know a lot of people find it hard to find the time or motivation to exercise while at uni, so I thought I would share some tips.
1. Take your bike.
I always knew I would take my bike to uni, mainly because my department was miles away from my flat, but also because it's a super easy way to get around. Most campuses are pretty big, so cycling between your halls and lectures means you are less likely to be late and it also saves you a lot of time in the morning. In my first year, my flatmates took the bus to their lectures and would often leave 45 minutes early to be sure of getting there on time (as the buses were very irregular and unreliable). On my bike, I could leave the house at 8:50 AM and be sitting in my lecture by 9 AM no problem. It may not feel like it, but doing this everyday really builds up your fitness. It was a good 10-minute ride to my department, and I would sometimes do it twice a day if I had large time gaps between lectures. On rainy days it isn't as fun, I'll admit, but if you need to get somewhere fast it's a good plan B to have, especially since the buses will always be crammed full on wet days.
Sub-Point 1.5: If you really want to make the most of this, you could even choose to live a bit further away from your department to make yourself exercise everyday. This is, in a way, what I did; I study at York, which has two campuses and I lived on the opposite one to my department. That way, I always had to cycle to the other campus and back each day. This kept me active, which is great when you spend most of your day sitting in classes. Invest in a good pair of gloves and a heavy hat that will still fit under your helmet for the colder months!
2. Choose a bedroom on the first floor or higher.
In my first year, I lived in halls that had a house-style layout, so not all the rooms were on one floor. My room was on the second floor, meaning I had to climb up and down two fights of stairs multiple times a day. Not gonna lie, this wasn't always pleasant, especially when I had a lot of stuff to carry or had forgotten something and had to run back up to fetch it, but on the plus side: It gets you doing a decent amount of exercise each day without even thinking about it! Hacking up those stairs all year really made a difference and I didn't even have to force myself to do it. (Plus it also gets easier after a term, you'll be bouncing up two stairs at a time!) I know that in first year you can't choose your room, but in second year, when you live in an actual house, try and bag yourself a room that's not on the first floor to sneak in some unconscious exercise. You'll thank me later.
3. Go for walks.
Not only is this good exercise, but it's also a great way to explore the university. I used to go for walks a lot because I liked listening to music while doing something active, and since I left my trampoline at home, walking was the next best option. It's a really effective way to have a break from work/revision, gets you out of the house and into the fresh air, and it keeps you fit. This is particularly beneficial during exam season when you want to do something other than look at words on a page for hours. When you come back, you'll be refreshed and your blood will be pumping again.
4. Look for cheap gym memberships.
Chances are there'll be a gym nearby that offers a student rate. The one I'm on is a student-saver deal where I can't access the centre at certain times of the day, but I pay less (which is good for getting me up in the morning as I can't use the facilities in the afternoon). I'd never belonged to a gym before, but they're great—being in a room with loads of cool equipment and other people working to get fit is way more motivating than going for a run in the rain. TIP: If you wake up too tired to go to the gym, go for a swim instead; it's slightly less effort, soothing, and really refreshing. Swimming really wakes me up if I need to get some good work done. And if you swim fast then you can be in and out in half an hour, which will also be a timesaver!
5. Get a job that involves doing exercise.
I recently got a job doing takeaway deliveries and it's amazing. You get paid to exercise. What more could you want?! It's also a great way to see more of the city you live in, letting you know what restaurants are popular that you may not have even discovered yet. (I've already started making a list of places I want to visit with my boyfriend.) A job like this is perfect for students as well. Depending on the company, you can choose when and how long you want to work for, and if you're too busy with exams then you don't have to book any shifts. Just make sure you have a bike, helmet, fluorescent gear, a smart phone, and a good portable charger (as constant 4G devours your battery). Happy riding!