How to Stay Active in College

Brady BoieSports and Fitness Editor

Let’s face it- the “Freshman Fifteen” is not a myth. In fact, studies would indicate that there is more truth to it than not. A recent UGA study found that freshmen gain about eight pounds in their first year of college.  There are a lot of factors that play into that reality: eating food exclusively from the cafeteria, stress eating, and increased consumption of food and beverages at social events all play a role in this seemingly inevitable weight gain. However, the sedentary nature of college is another factor at play that does not get as much recognition as it deserves. It’s hard NOT to sit in college. A full load of classes, monstrous study hours, and even relaxing with friends all occur while sitting. This constant sitting with little time to get up and move around certainly makes gaining weight easier. While gaining a little bit of weight is not necessarily bad, most people do not want to gain weight and realize that the college lifestyle inhibits their ability to stay in peak physical condition. Here are just a few ways that you can stay in shape as the college semester begins to ramp up. 

Walk 10,000 steps a day: Getting out and about for a walk every day does so much for your physical and mental/emotional health. Select Health reports that 10,000 steps a day improves heart health, increases focus, provides more energy, and strengthens the lungs, muscles, and bones. The bottom line is that walking this far (about 5 miles a day) is really good for you. The ways to get these steps in are almost endless. Hiking on trails in parks in Mankato, taking a walk in the Arb, or even just hopping on a treadmill in the new Lund facility are all great ways to get those steps in and improve your overall health.

Find fun ways to exercise: Exercise is not always enjoyable. Long workouts on the treadmill, spin bike, and even workouts with weights can become a drag at times. Fortunately, our body is not limited to those types of workouts in order to stay active or in shape. Fun ways to get exercise can include a game of ultimate frisbee, basketball, frisbee golf, and hiking, and more. Dancing, bowling, and a round of golf are other enjoyable ways to get exercise if the gym is not right for you. At the end of the day, it is about getting up and moving around to get the blood flowing; it does not matter how it is done, so have fun with it.

 

Find a workout partner: Finding a friend or two to work out with is huge when it comes to overall fitness success. Having a gym partner will motivate you to get to the gym, lift heavier weights, and push you harder than you ever could on your own. While it can be hard at times to coordinate schedules in order to exercise together, it is essential that you and your partner make time to exercise with one another on a consistent basis.  Like most things in life, a task at hand is much easier to tackle with a reliable partner, and fitness is no exception. Fitness partners also can help evaluate your form and help hold you accountable if you are trying to lose or gain weight. A gym partner is a must if you want to stay on top of your game.

College is an exciting but stressful time for most people, and physical fitness is one of the first things that gets pushed to the back burner. By walking 10,000 steps a day, making exercise a fun activity, and finding a reliable workout partner, you can stay in tip-top shape and potentially even see progress in your physical fitness. Remember: it is never too late to start a fitness or weight-loss journey. It is one of the most satisfying and healthful things you can do for yourself. The best part about all of this is that it does not take as much time as you think it would. All it takes is about thirty minutes a day to get a quality workout in, so get up and get moving!

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