College is challenging for the majority of students, especially in their freshman year. One of the things that tend to fall by the wayside is health and fitness. 

Students take advantage of the many nutrition-deficient food choices in the college cafeteria, develop the belief that sleep is optional and struggle to fit an exercise regimen into their busy schedule. 

It's important to try to address each of these issues, but fixing the exercise deficiency can actually help with the other two. 

Here are some tips to make sure that you exercise your body regularly while hitting the books in college.

Schedule It In

This could be the answer to a whole slew of issues that new college students face when they leave home for the first time. Effective scheduling can improve your academic performance, your job success, your social life, and of course, your fitness routine. 

Good scheduling can make the difference between just surviving your first year of college and thriving. If you just asked, "What is Thrive?", stop reading right now and go get yourself a good student planner.

Getting and staying physically fit takes consistent effort. An hour at the campus gym whenever you can fit it in just isn't going to cut it. There are a lot of strategies for fitting fitness into your college life, but all of them need to be scheduled. 

In college, a free block of time will always get filled with something; a study session, a nap, a social event, or a homesick call to Mom. 

If you don't block out time to exercise, chances are it won't happen. So once you've decided what you'll be doing for fitness, break out that new student planner and write it in.

Spread It Out

It's a mistake to think that you need to hit the gym for an hour at a time to get fit. Research shows that most adults only need about two and a half hours of exercise a week to get the benefits, so that works out to about 30 minutes a day, five days a week. 

Before you protest that you don't have 30 minutes a day, you should know that doctors now say that spreading that time out into 10-minute increments is just as effective. 

You can get a variety of short workouts into your schedule every day. 

Try doing 10 minutes of old-school bodyweight exercises in the morning, a brisk 10-minute walk or session on a stationary bike in the afternoon, and something calming like 10 minutes of tai chi or yoga in the evening. 

You'll end your day having worked on strength, cardio, and flexibility with very little impact on your busy schedule.

Do HIIT Workouts

Not for the faint of heart, but HIT workouts can be very brief and highly effective. The trick here is to choose an exercise and perform it at very high-intensity levels for short periods of time. 

For a 10-minute HIT workout, you might do jumping jacks for 30 seconds and then take a breather for 10, followed by lunges for 30 seconds and a 10-second break, etc. 

Studies show that these high-intensity mini-workouts can have the same health benefits as 45 minutes of moderate exercise.

If you want to get really crazy, there is a micro workout called Tabata that entails doing insanely high-intensity movement for short bursts for just 4 minutes. This one is probably best saved for folks who already have a pretty good fitness level though.

Use an App

If you want to go the traditional route and get in a regular workout, try one of the many apps that will stream great routines right to your phone. 

That way you can work out in your spare time in your dorm room without having to worry about fitting in a trip to the gym. Choose an exercise that doesn't require specialized equipment like bodyweight, floor pilates, or stationary walking.


The bottom line is that there are a ton of ways to fit exercise into your life at college. Not only will you be more fit, but you'll think more clearly and you'll sleep better too.


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