Sticking to an exercise routine at university can be difficult. You may be juggling assignments, revision, society activities, ever-changing lectures and seminars, socialising and maybe even part-time work. This can all become overwhelming and you may start to notice fitness becoming less and less of a priority.
Worrying about when to exercise, how and where can become a stress in itself, and may be an added pressure to your university life. However, this can be easily solved with the right information. In fact, exercise is incredibly effective at reducing stress and releasing mood-boosting endorphins. It improves your quality of sleep, promotes self-confidence and can provide a sharper memory and thinking. All of which are important to creating a positive university experience.
Here are 4 ways you can incorporate exercise into university life:
1. Set Aside One Hour Everyday
Firstly, this full hour doesn’t need to be completely dedicated to exercise. For example, you may complete 30 minutes of exercise, but it is important that this one hour is dedicated to you and you alone. Make it a peaceful part of your day.
- Set aside your phone.
- Take yourself away from external stressors.
- Exercise knowing you have an hour to yourself without distraction and there’s no rush.
This may be easier to plan ahead on a calendar if you have an irregular schedule. You will also be more motivated to complete your goals if they are written down!
2. Find Exercises that You Enjoy
You will find it much easier to stick to a routine when you are doing something you enjoy!
Maybe you already know what exercises you prefer but for those who don’t, trial and error may be your first experiences. Here are some good places to start:
- Body weight
If you have specific goals in mind begin there! Decide what it is you want to achieve and what can help you achieve it best.
Here are some articles that can help get you started:
- A Guide to Yoga for Beginners
- The Definition of What HIIT is and What Makes it Effective
- An Introduction to the Benefits of Pilates
- 10 of the Best Ab Exercises for Definition
- 5 Items at Home That’ll Boost all of your Workouts
3. Use YouTube
There are thousands of free videos on YouTube that make exercising much more enjoyable and hassle-free.
The video platform takes the thinking out of exercise, you press play and follow the instructions, like having your own personal trainer without the price. You may even find a content creator whose personality is your main reason for coming back the next day. They can motivate you and make difficult exercises much more manageable and fun.
Some good start searches could be:
- ‘20-minute HIIT workout’ (add ‘no noise’, ‘no impact’ if you live above neighbours)
- ‘Cardio and Abs’
- ‘Dance workout’
- ‘Yoga for beginners’
- ’No equipment barre workout’
However, be aware, social media isn’t always a positive space, especially when it comes to fitness. Make sure to read our guide on the pros and cons of social media in your fitness journey.
4. Avoid Putting Pressure on Yourself
University life is busy. Don’t stress if you don’t manage to exercise every single day.
To help avoid the pressures of exercise guilt, you can promise yourself a set number of days in the week that you are going to exercise. Therefore, you know you don’t have to exercise everyday and you can be more flexible.
For example, as long as you have exercised on 4 days during a week you have completed your goal. If on Monday you don’t feel like it, you have 6 more days to fit it in!
There is one important rule that you can live by to help avoid exercise guilt:
Do one thing every day that’s good for your body.
This could be as small as going for a walk around campus, meditating for 10 minutes or eating a healthy meal. As long as you have done one good thing that day you can relax knowing you have taken care of your body.