Shannon Terrell is an undergraduate at the University of Toronto studying English Literature and Psychology. She loves indie folk music, eccentric films, playing with makeup and all things fitness.She passionately pursues writing in the form of freelance blogging, editing, and creating oddly entertaining grocery lists.
Admit it. You’ve heard of the “freshman fifteen.” That dreaded bit of bulk that college students acquire when they first begin their postsecondary studies. And the culprit behind the phenomena? There are quite a few: increased alcohol intake, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, upped stress levels and decreased exercise.
Now, you may be thinking, “Not me! No way am I going to let that happen!” Perhaps you have a good exercise routine established or are careful about what you eat. But regardless of whether you’re already pursuing an active lifestyle or not, balancing your studies with exercise is more important than you’d think. And we’re not just talking about warding off that pesky freshman fifteen either.
Exercise has a plethora of benefits that will stack in your favor when it comes to thriving in the college life. It improves your physical fitness, tones muscle, trims fat and keeps your heart healthy. But exercise is going to do a heck of a lot more for you than just making your butt look fabulous in those jeans. You’re also going to feel better, sharper, happier, clearer and more energized. Exercise gives you a kick of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin; those feel good happy neurotransmitters that’ll jazz you up for hours. The brain releases proteins during exercise to help heal, revitalize and refresh itself. Your mitochondria count goes up to provide your body with more energy both during and after your workout.
The result? You’re going to feel better, study better, sleep better and perform better in pretty much every way you can imagine. Not to mention, exercise flushes stress and toxins from the body, which means it’s the perfect detox cleanse after a stressful cram session or a late night out.
So, how do you balance exercise with studying? Let’s be clear in saying that studying is important. It’s integral to success in your college career. But it’s evident that exercise is going to really help you out too. So, how do you strike the balance? You organize your time.
Many schools have fitness and exercise facilities available to their students. These facilities can usually be found both indoors and outdoors, so no matter the weather, you can find a way to work up a sweat. Ask around for some information or look up what services your school offers its students. You can learn a lot from just a few clicks on your school’s website! And don’t feel you have to limit yourself to gym sessions either—sports are a great way to get in some exercise and meet lots of cool, new people in the process! It’s a great way to involve yourself in your school’s community.
If you’re not a fitness freak and all of this sounds a little daunting, don’t be discouraged! Just start small and simple. Go for a walk, bike ride or rollerblade around your campus. Explore. Acquaint yourself with what’s nearby. Just get outside and get some fresh air! Make time for what’s important to you. If fitting in some exercise means getting up an extra half hour early to pop in a walk or a run, or hitting the campus gym between classes, then that’s what it takes. It takes commitment, creativity and perseverance. And it’ll pay off. Big