How to Stay Active During a Busy College Life

I hate to admit it, but I know that the “freshman 15” is an actual phenomenon. I gained exactly 15 pounds by the time I returned home for the summer to the shock of my family and friends. I had never gained so much as a couple pounds my entire life, so I knew something had gone wrong. Okay, so it wasn’t hard to figure out. Between parties, eating poorly and lack of adequate exercise, I discovered that even my high metabolism was no match for a sedentary college life.

So, I decided to take action. What I found was that with a little discipline and planning, I could lose the weight by planning easy, healthy meals in advance; finding healthier alternatives to going out; and figuring out ways to sneak in the exercise I so severely lacked. Specifically, I find exercising an issue for many students, so I have a few tips here to help.

The first and easiest way to get in some daily exercise is to figure out more opportunities to burn calories. You’ve heard them all: Take the stairs, walk instead of taking your car if your not too far from campus, invest in an inexpensive bike for longer trips, and take the longest route around campus. You can actually burn a few hundred calories every week by altering some daily habits.

Actually using the rec center at your school is another way to stay active. If treadmills and stair climbers aren’t your thing or if you need a group atmosphere to motivate you, check out the schedule of pilates, yoga, spin, kickboxing and other classes until you find one you like. Vary it up ever so often so you’re not stuck in a rut. If you have the extra cash, train with a trainer for some one-on-one attention.

If you like to run, hike or bike, check out local trails or parks around campus that are open to the public year-round. Be sure to take someone with you just to be safe, even in the daylight and be sure to let your RA or someone you know your plans. Getting outside your school’s bubble can encourage you not only to get in touch with nature but also to inspire healthier habits all around.

Finally, join an intramural sports team. Find a sport that you’ve played before or have interest in learning how to play and just get out and do it! Besides keeping you active, sports are a fun way to meet new people.

Make sure to be safe wherever you go and in whatever you do. Take friends with you or let someone know where you will be, avoid nighttime activities alone and don’t overexert yourself to exhaustion. Keeping these tips in mind, you will slowly and steadily see an improvement in your health and in your weight.

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