Tag Archives: yoga

Should I be Doing Yoga Workouts?

Should I be doing Yoga Workouts?

yoga squat pose

The short answer is yes – yoga isn’t all about middle-aged women meeting up at the studio with their yoga mats to get their stretch on and drink their protein shakes; it’s more inclusive, easier and beneficial than you might think!

Although yoga workouts are not the most effective way to lose weight, they are great for building strength, toning muscles and improving balance and flexibility. We don’t need to tell you the importance of exercise for your overall health, but we can tell you how amazing yoga is in helping you reach your fitness goals, one stretch at a time! Ranging from cardio to strength training, yoga lets you stretch muscles you didn’t know existed and gets your heart working to release endorphins – it’s de-stressing, grounding and boy, does it make you feel good!

Unlike a normal vinyasa flow, a yoga workout incorporates more intense exercises, much like a HiiT routine (including squats, mountain climbers and jumping jacks) to keep your body moving and your heart rate up. It counts towards your daily ‘vigorous’ exercise recommendations set out by the NHS and is easily adaptable to your fitness levels.

Yoga workouts, like any other workout, require warm ups and cool downs for injury prevention – check out this article to learn more and find out how best to warm up.


Top Tip – yoga poses and flows can be used in your warm ups and cool downs!


yoga pose - upward and downward facing dog
Upward and downward facing dog pose.

Upward facing dog (background) and downward facing dog (foreground) are fabulous poses to be used in any yoga routine and warm up – stretching your back, arms and legs, they’re poses incorporating a variety of muscles to help improve flexibility. Don’t worry if you can’t form a perfect angle in downward facing dog, the main focus is keeping your back straight, meaning you can bend your knees to help maintain the pose. Upward facing dog can easily be transformed into child’s pose by keeping your hands flat on the ground, lifting up onto your knees and sitting back, allowing your arms to be outstretched on the ground in front of you.


yoga pose - high plank
High plank pose.

High plank is a pose integral in a lot of yoga flows and helps build strength and muscle in your core and shoulders. It can easily be adapted and incorporated into a more intense yoga workout with mountain climbers by keeping your hands flat to the ground in the position shown above, bringing one leg at a time towards your elbows, as if you’re running.


This yoga workout for beginners video comes highly recommended from us, incorporating some key yoga poses, including those above, in a simple yet effective workout. Using videos like this are wonderful for motivation and guidance, as well as helping to focus your breathing – a concept vital to yoga.


Yoga workouts are a great way to have fun, vigorously certified exercise that will help your mental and physical health. They can easily break up study sessions and help you stretch your aching, study-induced muscles.


Staying Healthy And Motivated As A Student On A Budget: The Basics

As a student, it can be difficult to get into a healthy exercise routine and even more difficult without the proper funds. Personally, I have used money as an excuse in the past for not being able to get into a regular fitness routine.

There have been many times a friend of mine has asked if I wanted to get a gym membership with them and I am faced with the same conflicting feelings. From a money standpoint it can be great value for money if you can afford it. However for me, as much as I would have loved to join the gym in the past, the commitment for me was always too big financially. And I am sure lots of other students feel the same. Besides let’s face it, there are plenty of ways to stay healthy without needing to invest large sums of money.

Budgeting as a student can be hard – but it’s not an excuse to stay unfit!

Staying fit and active during the last year became one of the biggest challenges for me. With the lack of structure and schedule in my days I started looking for new ways to motivate myself and create some sort of consistent and regular exercise routine to maintain my fitness levels. As a student, it’s important to have alternative ways of staying fit on a small budget, without the need for a gym or much physical equipment.  So lets explore some of the basics!

A Fresh Morning Walk

Free, easy and calming. One of the things I have come to appreciate most is a crisp morning walk. The hardest part of the day for me is the morning. Yes, I know, such a stereotypical student. But lots of people struggle with mornings and for good reason. Getting out of bed and starting a productive day can be daunting at first and the effects of the pandemic have made it harder for some.

Not everyone is a morning person

I have found that the quicker you get yourself up and active, the better. I got into the routine everyday or every other day of waking up, having a quick shower and heading out the door to get some fresh morning air. Living through the pandemic and multiple lockdowns, you really come to appreciate being in large open spaces like parks and the feeling of nature around you.

Scenic and natural environments are best to explore on your walks and jogs

Doing exercise in the morning has many benefits such as making you feel more awake and energized. As well as improving your internal mood it can spark productivity and help with motivation to complete tasks. These are certainly the effects I found, helping me get more done in my day as well as improving my outlook on the days work. If you’re ambitious and well prepared, turn this morning walk into a morning jog. The benefits will be enhanced and you’ll start noticing a difference in the way you feel throughout the day.

A Morning Stretch

In addition to a morning walk, to get your muscles ready and moving before you head out, try doing some light stretches or yoga positions. Nowadays we live in such a digitized world, a lot of students and young adults find themselves hunched over screens all day, attending online seminars or online work calls. All this use of technology can be difficult on your lower back, neck and eyes as well as other areas of your body for long periods of time. It is important to stretch on a regular basis to help improve posture, increase range of motion and also in some cases, help reduce and manage stress. The free act of stretching your limbs and body can have massive benefits on the rest of your day.

By taking the time and listening to your body, you can start stretching away tensions held up in your joints and muscles. Even just a 5 -10 minutes stretch will improve how your body feels, helping you to feel more relaxed and mobile. Take a look through this article to get an idea of how simple a daily stretching session can be.

Whilst there are plenty of stretches and yoga positions that can be done completely for free without additional equipment, if you’re doing floor stretches I would recommend investing in a yoga mat to make the experience more comfortable and prevent possible injury. What’s also great is as well as doing basic tension relieving stretches on the mat, it can also be used in more intense workouts and toning exercises if you choose to do so.

Download a Fitness App

Another great tip for young people looking to stay healthy and motivated on a budget is to download a free fitness app on your phone. Wearable tech is gaining a lot of interest these days, although it’s definitely not the cheapest way to track your health. Whilst a wearable tech more accurately tracks your movement and activity, free fitness apps on the app store are still a great way to manually input and track your fitness data. This way you can keep up to date with all the progress you’re making!

Find the right app for you to track your health and fitness goals

A great side effect to using a fitness tracking app is that it can be used as a source of motivation to continue with your new routines. Personally for me, hitting my daily steps goal and tracking other factors such as my mood and sleeping patterns, really helped me to get myself into a better daily schedule and more importantly, stick to them! My days felt more productive and it was all documented on this app for me to review. If you are someone who struggles with motivation I would definitely recommend checking out what apps out there would best suit your needs.

Some apps focus more on certain fitness routines such as muscle building

There are plenty of apps on the market, finding the right one can be tricky. It all depends on what your fitness goals are. Some apps let you input really detailed logs about diet, different exercises, heart rate, blood pressure, the list goes on! Don’t be overwhelmed by this though. Just stick to the fitness and health areas that you want to focus on. Soon you will appreciate being able to track your long term goals overtime, whether that is just getting into healthier habits or really going for weight loss and muscle gain goals, there is an app for you.

Staying healthy and motivated as a student can be hard, but by trying to integrate some of the activities discussed here, you might find it’s easier than you think!

Find Out How To Successfully Manage Your Chronic Illness While At University

University is known to be difficult for any student. It is additionally challenging when you have to navigate university life with a chronic illness. This is how you can improve the way you manage your chronic illness while at university.

1. Find exercise that helps, not hinders.

Exercise has fantastic benefits, you don’t want to miss out by thinking it’s not for you. But, your chronic illness is unique to you, so you need to find ways to exercise that suit your body.

A common misconception is that exercise always wipes you out leaving you more fatigued, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Rather than pushing yourself to the max at the gym doing high-intensity workouts, work regular low-moderate exercise into your routine. Your body will find this easier to cope with, minimising the chance of feeling fatigued afterwards.

Even in a boxy university bedroom, you can start a low-moderate exercise plan. Student budget-friendly equipment, such as a yoga mat, resistance bands, and toning weights are all you need to get started. Youtube is a great tool to find free workouts that you can follow at your own pace.

Young woman performing simple yoga move in front of laptop following an online class
Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Another excellent piece of equipment for those with a chronic illness is an exercise bike.  The wide range of resistance settings allows for a personalised approach to exercise. Plus, exercising from the comfort of your own home empowers you to set the pace, making exercise work for you.

Woman happy listening to music with earphones and smiling
Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

Top tip: Start your mornings right! Challenge yourself to a 10k on an exercise bike while you listen to music or catch up on a podcast. This will energise you for a day of university.

2. Check your nutrition.

Vitamins and minerals are nutrients your body needs in small amounts to work properly and stay healthy- NHS

Depending on which chronic illness you have, it may affect your nutrition. Whether you’re catching colds easily or feeling tired and run-down, you could have a nutritional deficiency.

If this sounds like you, the first step should be consulting your medical team. You can get simple blood tests and check your key nutrient levels, like iron and B12. If these are low, they can recommend a treatment such as tablets, intravenous infusions, or injections. This can set you back on the right track for living your best university life.

Wooden chopping board with various foods laid out, eggs, avocado, mushroom, tomatoes, herbs.
Photo by Katie Smith on Unsplash

If possible, also eat a balanced diet including a wide range of food groups and supplement this with nutrient-rich protein shakes. Top tip: When choosing one, check that the ingredients include the nutrients that you specifically need.

woman sitting on yoga mat holding a protein shake or smoothie and with weights on floor
Photo by Derick McKinney on Unsplash

Once you have improved your nutritional levels, you will hopefully start feeling more energised and be able to say ‘yes’ to more opportunities at university!

Group of young men smiling and laughing looking at their laptops
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash


Please consult your medical team before making changes to your exercise routine or nutritional intake, they can provide you with bespoke advice.


Apple Fitness+ is it worth it?

As I found myself particularly unmotivated during lockdown, with no idea of what kind of exercise to do without access to the gym… I pretty much stopped exercising. I used to struggle to close my apple watch rings, watching as my friends overtook me every day, my Apple watch is supposed to track my fitness, not track whether I get off the sofa at all. Things were getting pretty dire until I saw that Apple were bringing out ‘Fitness+’, a £10 subscription that connects with your Apple watch and other devices to bring the classes from the gym, home to you.

My pre-subscription performance compared to my friends.

At first, I was a bit overwhelmed, there were loads of workouts that I had never even thought of doing, so I decided to dip my toes in with a short yoga session, which I thought was an easy start and I only needed a yoga mat. Tip here, give yourself enough space, and place your iPhone or tablet at a level where you can see it stood up, or sat down, or connect to your Apple TV to watch. My lack of space was the main issue with this yoga session, but regardless, I still enjoyed it. Another thing I enjoyed about the yoga, was that within the group, one of the instructors would display an easier version of the yoga pose, so that beginners would be able to join in too. ‘Bird of Paradise’ was the final pose for my session, but I couldn’t manage that pose because it was so twisty, so I did the half version that was displayed for beginners. So if you want to learn a bit of yoga, Fitness+ is great for experts and beginners.

Fitness+ Front Page.

The next day, I decided to try the exercise bike classes on Fitness+, and don’t worry if you only have an old exercise bike, I attached my phone to the bike with blu tac for now, but I am going to buy a stand for my phone. The session was hard, you’re in charge of your own resistance, so it’s as hard as you want it to be, but when you have to go for it, it can be really hard. I decided to do my class with Sherica (one of the instructors), with the music being ‘latest hits’, but there was actually lots of options to choose from. After my intense 20 minutes on the bike, I was offered a mindful cooldown. The mindful cool down was actually really helpful too, with some stretches and breathing exercises to bring your heart rate back down, and properly stretch out your muscles.

Fitness+ Recap after your workout.

The ‘burn bar’ is a red bar displayed on the screen that allows you to see how you face up next to everyone else that have taken that class. I really liked this, because when I dropped down, I wanted to put more effort in to get back to the ‘front of the pack’ part of the burn bar. If competition isn’t your thing though, you can always turn it off. The instructor often mentions your burn burn, heart rate, and rings. When the instructor mentions these things they become highlighted and you get to see more details.

The mentioned ‘burn bar’ on the left, and my empty activity rings on the right.

All this doesn’t work without an Apple Watch, so if you haven’t got one, I’d recommend you go down the Fitbit route instead, or a Samsung smart watch. There are so many options for wearables now that if an Apple Watch is out of your budget, you can still track your fitness with a cheaper alternative, instead of spending £300 on an Apple Watch, some exercise gear and/or machines, and the £10 monthly subscription, but if Apple Watches are your thing and you already have some of their devices, the £10 a month is completely worth it. 

Price comparison of Apple Watch and Samsung Watch.

The next day I decided to try a core workout, with the use of dumbbells. Just like the yoga, this was difficult due to my lack of Apple TV or iPad. It was enjoyable, and gave me a variety of workouts that I wouldn’t have thought of doing without Fitness+, but it’s very expensive to take full advantage of it, if you don’t already own the devices.

My core workout details.

The best thing about the watch and Fitness+ combination is the motivation and direction it gives you. I want to exercise, but with lack of direction, I’ll just carry-on watching Netflix. With the watch telling me that I need to do more exercise and close my rings, I can pick a workout of my choice from Apple’s offerings. The workouts always include a playlist as well, and if you have Apple Music, you can listen to all these playlists in your own time as well.

The Apple Watch face.

One thing I don’t like about this subscription, you can’t just log in on your laptop or cast to your tv. You can only view it on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. Trying to watch on an iPhone is difficult because you have to keep moving it, and iPad would probably be quite good, but I’m not paying out even more money to be able to use it. An Apple TV costs around £150, and this would be the best device to have fitness plus on, as you could hook it up to any tv. You can connect to anyone’s Apple TV…so if you live with someone who owns one and likes you, you’ve saved some money. No one wants to pay even more just to exercise, so once again, Apple Fitness is great… as long as you’re already integrated with Apple devices.  

Fitness+ on an Apple TV.

So all in all? If you already have an Apple watch ? Go for it, get the subscription. If you’re not an apple user? I’d just get a fitbit and try one of the many other workout subscriptions online, such as peleton or zwift, but it works for me, and it’s given me the motivation and push I need to exercise every single day.

My activity rings after Fitness+.