Studying can be a stressful experience, especially if you aren’t doing anything besides your degree. To break up the monotony of your routine and relieve the intense nature of your course, becoming mindful of your physical and mental health can lead to an improvement in your overall performance. Forcing yourself to exercise can be overwhelming but the effects of physical fitness will leave you feeling less stressed.
Here are my top 10 tips that have helped me stay fit and healthy at university.
- Walking to uni
This is a good way to get fresh air and achieve some exercise without it feeling too strenuous; you can even start a new podcast or listen to your favourite music. Alternatively, you can always get on the bus a stop further away from usual or get off a couple of stops before you get to where you need to be. Never underestimate the trek from George Green Library bus stop to Trent building, it can be quite the challenge.
- Figure out what works for you
Figuring out what works for you is essential when it comes to maintaining a fitness routine. This could lead to trialling a few different methods of activity, but it means you’re more likely to stick to it if you enjoy it. For example, if you hate running, don’t force yourself to do it! Find an alternative such as spin or circuit class. If you want to join a gym, weigh up the pros and cons of what gym to join and decide whether you prefer morning or evening workouts.
- Attend gym classes
If you struggle with solo gym sessions, are unsure of how to use particular gym equipment or just feel that your workouts are becoming ineffective, switch it up and attend a gym class. Classes are balanced in that they offer you guidance but also allow you to make it as easy or as challenging as you need. Depending on where you go, gym classes don’t have to be typical ab classes or Zumba, you can also sign up for activities such as climbing, swimming, martial arts or fencing.
- Attend a sport/society training session
Some sports and societies at the University of Nottingham will hold sessions that allow you to go as and when you please. UoN Engage is a great way to get involved in a sport without having to have a sports membership or participate in any trials or set teams. This guarantees you some physical exercise that is not only fun and enjoyable but also rewarding and a great way to meet new people.
- Do a workout with your house or flat mates
It can often be difficult to motivate yourself when it comes to fitness. However, this can be easily overcome by recruiting your flat or house mates to get involved. Design an indoor workout with them and find inspiration on Instagram or YouTube, or even go on a group run around the area you live in. Alternatively, buy a home workout guide and split the cost between you. This is much cheaper than a gym membership and can be done from the comfort of your home.
- Set realistic goals
Instead of thinking ‘I’d like to lose this much weight in this much time’ think ‘I’d like to be able to run this far in this time’ or ‘I’d like to be able to squat this amount by next week’. Goal setting in this manner is a positive way to stay on track, since it doesn’t completely dictate your life but instead serves as a rough guideline to help you work towards your fitness goals.
- Invest in a water bottle
Investing in a robust and reusable water bottle is one of the best things you can do at uni. Not only will you be doing your bit to save the planet by not buying plastic water bottles but carrying it about with you ensures you are staying hydrated and aiding optimum brain function throughout the day.
- Meal prep
It can be so tempting to pop to Spar or Boots and buy a meal deal or run up to the top floor of Portland and indulge in a Chicken Joe’s. However, if you’re trying to get on top of your fitness, then meal prepping instead is never a bad idea. Take an hour or two out of your Sunday afternoons to make 3 or 4 meals for the week ahead. By doing this, you know exactly what has gone into your meal and you’ll have saved some money in the process, bonus!
- Regulate your sleep
Ensuring you get a consistent amount of sleep each night can work wonders in terms of your brain performance; sitting in the library and not wanting to fall asleep can actually lead to quite a productive day. To work towards this, create a comfortable sleep space, where you feel you can relax and wind down at the end of a hard day.
- Eat smart
Preparing nutritious and wholesome meals will keep you fuller throughout the day, but always have healthy snacks on hand. What you eat often determines how you feel and who wouldn’t want to feel good by eating good foods? Balance is also important in day-to-day life, so it goes without saying that you should treat yourself every now and then to that Domino’s that’s been calling your name. Let’s be real, we’d go insane if not!