Exercising in College

Exercise Plans for College Students


Exercise Plans for College Students

As a college student, your schedule probably includes classes, homework, studying, exams, extracurricular activities, social obligations and perhaps even a part-time job. With such a hectic lifestyle, it’s sometimes difficult to find time for a workout. But finding time to exercise can improve your focus and concentration, keep you healthy and prevent the pounds from packing on.

Types of Exercise

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week. Moderate intensity exercises include brisk walking, while vigorous intensity exercises include jogging, cycling or playing sports. Along with aerobic exercise, squeeze in at least two strength-training sessions per week. Your strengthening sessions should include exercises for all major muscle groups including the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest and arms. Aerobic exercises protect your heart, while strength training keeps your muscles and bones strong. Be sure to stretch gently before and after every workout to avoid injury and improve flexibility.


Most colleges have a fitness center, indoor track and swimming pool available directly on campus. Membership is generally free or discounted for students and the schedule often has extended hours to accommodate students’ hectic schedules. Also, review your school’s class schedule to see the types of group fitness classes offered. As with any other academic class, these fitness classes meet at specific times and you will likely be graded on participation. If you prefer a less formal workout, join an intramural sports team. Whether you choose basketball, softball, disc golf or swimming, you’ll benefit from the exercise and friendly competition. Along with regular exercise sessions, try to incorporate more activity into your daily college life. Walk or bike to classes and around campus. During a hardcore study session, take a break every 30 minutes to walk a few laps around the library or climb a set of stairs in your building.

Dorm Room Workouts

If your schedule just won’t allow you to join a team sport or visit the gym, look no further than your dorm room. Although it currently serves as your bedroom, kitchen, living room and office, that tiny space can also function as your personal gym. Clear a spot on the floor for jogging in place, jumping jacks, kickboxing and skipping rope, even if your ceilings aren’t high enough to use an actual rope. On strength-training days, perform chair dips, pushups, crunches, squats and lunges. If you don’t like the idea of developing your own workout routine, simply turn on an exercise video and follow along.

Staying Motivated

With social obligations, television, school work and your cozy bed all vying for your attention, it’s easy to lose your motivation for exercising. To help you stay on track, gather a group of friends to help you stay accountable. Make a pact to work out for 30 minutes every day. If possible, work out together to increase motivation. You could also involve all the residents in your hallway or building. Post signs in the lobby announcing that your group will meet every day at a certain time for a 30-minute jog around campus.

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