Tuesday, December 7, 2021

12 Top Tips for Busy College Students to Stay Fit

There’s a lot going against a college student’s desire to stay healthy: stress, lack of sleep, fast food, booze, and a jam-packed schedule. But getting in shape while juggling school work is far from impossible.

Luckily, we have the top tips for college students who don’t have a lot of spare time. Get your running shoes ready — it’s time to get fit! 💪

1. Download a Workout App 📱

No time to go to the campus gym? Download a workout app so you won’t have to! Whether you want to access free workout routines or pay for an all-in-one fitness tracker, there are plenty of apps that can give you what you need.

Many apps allow you to use their content for free, but you can also pay a small fee (either monthly or annually) to get more premium services, such as personalized training, meal plans, and longer exercise videos. 

2. Subscribe to a Fitness YouTube Channel 📺

Getting a personal trainer or a tailor-fit program might be too much for your student budget but that’s why you have media platforms like YouTube to the rescue. 

Figure out what kind of exercise you want to follow, put in the right keywords (such as beginner, intermediate, weight loss, cardio, or yoga) in the search bar, and you’re all set to work out in the comfort of your own room.

3. Study While You Exercise 📘

If a hectic study schedule keeps you from hitting your fitness goals, why not do both at the same time? Take your notes with you to the gym, scout for an available treadmill or stationary bike, place your notes in front of you, and get started with the ultimate fit college student combo: memorizing and exercising!

That way, you’re not only giving your mind a workout, but your body can stay in tip-top shape too. Don’t forget to invite a few friends to join you (that is if you can convince them!). 

woman exercising at home
There are plenty of ways to keep up a healthy lifestyle while going through the challenges of college. Photo: Jonathan Borba/Unsplash

4. Try Dorm-Friendly Exercises 🧘‍♀️

Is laziness hitting a little too hard today? There are small-space exercises you can easily do in the confines of your dorm room.

Choose from air squats, lunges, push-ups, planks, high knees, and wall sits to build your routine. You can even use your furniture as equipment, then increase the reps. A quick search on Google and you’ll also see tons of videos detailing other easy exercises you can do in the comfort of your own space! 

5. Apply for an Active Part-Time Job 🚴

Having a job that pushes you to be active — whether it’s serving tables, doing errands, stocking shelves, or delivering food and goods by bike —  is definitely a good move. Think about going with side hustles such as being a campus tour guide for prospective students, a nanny to very energetic kids, or even a line cook at a fast-paced kitchen.

Hours of sitting down for class won’t do a body good, so find something that’ll push you to use some muscles. Plus, you get to earn some cash!

6. Find a Fitness Buddy 🤼

Losing weight won’t seem so exhausting if you have a few pals to join you! Seeing familiar faces at the gym gives you the motivation you need to stick to your workout regimen (and work even harder each session). 

Have willing friends list their own goals and then become each other’s support system. If you notice that they’re going off track (or vice versa), give a quick nudge and remind them of their aim. You can even make it a competition to up the ante and help you get even more fired up to be healthy.

two women exercising
Working out together doubles the fun. Photo: Luna Active Fitness/Unsplash

7. Walk Wherever You Can 🚶‍♂️

Ditching your car or public transport in favor of walking around campus is a great way to get your steps in. Whether you’re running an errand, going to a party, or simply coming home after a tiring day, choosing to walk can do wonders for your stamina and concentration!

Plus, busy college students determined to get fit can be more successful if they incorporate exercises into everyday activities. Just remember to buy comfortable shoes. 😉

8. Set a Schedule ⏰

Plan your day around your exercise schedule so you don’t encounter too many hurdles that could keep you from breaking a sweat. If you prefer to work out in the morning, pick a class timeslot that’ll allow you to sneak in a full session beforehand. 

On the other hand, if you only have time in the evening, you can power through a workout session after class, and before other activities that might leave you physically and mentally drained — like that homework.

9. Make the Most of Campus Resources 🏋 

Yes, campus life may your nemesis on your fitness journey, but that doesn’t mean that it’s all bad. There are tons of perks on (and off) campus you can use to help you become leaner and healthier.

If paying tuition gives you access to a fitness center, get some motivation by signing up for various exercise classes. Or, if you’re allowed, why not enroll in PE electives since college credit is a great motivation to be more active. If that’s not possible, scout out nearby parks and gyms, as well as amateur sports clubs. It can be a great way to make new friends too!

10. Stock up on Healthy Snacks 🥑

When college students are stressed (or hungover), there’s nothing more comforting than junk food. Candy bars, sodas, greasy cheeseburgers, and salty chips — they all sound delicious but they’re not exactly good for you.

Of course, we’re not suggesting you give it all up (everything in moderation!), but it is best to have healthy snacks on hand before you get the munchies. Go with trail mix, granola bars, and fruit instead of chocolate and if you want something heavier, cut up some cucumbers, carrots, and celery and eat it with hummus.

READ MORE: Smart Eating: 14 Best Study Snacks to Power Your Brain

girl-holding-orange-halves-up-as-eyes
Keep an eye out for healthy snacks. Photo: Miksturaproduction/Freekpik

11. Eat Small Portions Consistently 👨‍🍳

Going for hours without eating will always backfire. The longer your stomach remains empty, the greater the tendency to overeat later. This is why you should never shop for groceries while you’re hungry — because you may end up buying everything you see! 

It’s not a good idea to starve or deprive yourself. The trick is to control your portions and be more attentive to what you put in your body. But if you want some dessert, go ahead.

12. Get Enough Sleep 🛌

A good night’s sleep is an important factor in having a healthy lifestyle. However, it may not be easy to come by once you’re a college student. Here are some bonus tips to make sure that you get seven hours when you’re able:

Turn off Your Devices at Night

There is substantial research showing that fluorescent and LED lights from your devices, such as phones and laptops, prevent or delay the natural production of melatonin, putting off the drowsiness of bedtime. You might want to put down your phone or laptop an hour before you sleep or turn on the night mode on your phone so that you can still listen to some tunes before bed.

Use Darker Curtains

For many people, having just a little bit of light in their rooms can completely disrupt their sleep. You may want to invest in darker, thicker curtains that can keep sunlight out so you can sleep more, especially on the weekends. However, you should always have an alarm ready so you won’t miss a morning class or errand! 

Reduce Caffeine Intake After Lunch

Don’t drink too much coffee in the afternoon or evening. Depending on the choice of coffee and size, some people will still feel the effects of caffeine at night. So, if you’re not really cramming for an exam or writing a late paper, it’s best to stick to decaf.


College life can get pretty chaotic, but there’s no reason for you to miss out on taking care of yourself. Stick to your regimen, build a great support system, ask for help from time to time, and you’ll be well on your way to getting into tip-top shape!

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