|Keeping fit in college|
|Benefits of exercise|
|Exercising at School|
|Fitting it into your schedule|
|Assessing your fitness level|
|Sticking with it|
In college, time is a finite resource and often students place exercise at the bottom of their list of priorities. It is pretty easy to spend the entire day running from class to class, meeting to meeting, and then realize that the day is over. Some of us even have jobs on top of our many scholastic responsibilities. Oh yes, and we must also make time to have some fun with our friends. With all of these obligations and the fact that we are pulled in all different directions, it is no wonder that college students have difficulty adding daily exercise to their schedules.
However, keeping fit by exercising is important and has many health benefits. Surprisingly enough, by making minor changes in your schedule, you just might find a few extra minutes to make a quick trip to the gym or to go for a little jog. For example, even taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking hastily to classes counts as physical activity. You don't have to look good in Lycra or belong to a fancy health spa to be physically active!!
This fact sheet outlines the benefits of exercise, gives guidelines for making the most of your exercise time and gives suggestions as to how you can fit daily exercise into your schedule. Just thirty minutes a day (not necessarily all at once), five days a week of some type of physical activity can make a real difference to your health today and tomorrow. Keep in mind, though, that the more vigorous the physical activity, the better the health benefits.[ To Top ]
Physical activity is one of the very best things that you can do for your health. When combined with healthy eating, you can look and feel better today as well as safeguard your health for tomorrow.
Long term and short term health benefits to exercise include:
Not only does exercise improve health and physical well being, but it will also make you feel better about your body and yourself, increase muscle tone, improve your mood, clear your head, and help you to concentrate on schoolwork.[ To Top ]
Before you begin your workout, you should warm up for five minutes by doing some light aerobic exercise, such as jogging slowly or walking briskly. This stretching will prepare your body for a more intense workout and will prevent injury. You might also want to stretch the muscles that you plan to work on.
There are several measures that you can take in order to maximize the benefit of your workout and prevent injury including:
Never end a work out abruptly. Instead, slowly bring down your heart rate. You can do this by slowly decreasing the intensity of your work out, or walking until your heart rate returns to normal. Here are more helpful tips for effect exercising. [ To Top ]
Stretching before and after a workout will increase flexibility and reduce soreness and injury. Different types of stretching exercises can be found at http://www.aarp.org/health-active/.[ To Top ]
In order to build endurance, you should engage in aerobic exercise for an extended period of time (20-30 minutes). This will improve the health of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. The American Heart Association recommends that you shoot for your targeted heart rate in order to maximize your workout. At this rate, your heart will most efficiently pump blood. Your target heart rate equals about 50-75% of your heart's maximum rate. This can be calculated by subtracting your age from 220.
Types of aerobic exercise include, but are not limited to, the following:
Several of these activities are weight-bearing exercises, which means they are
Weight training can build strength and improve your muscle tone. When lifting weights, you should give muscles a day or two to rest between workouts. This will prevent injury.
There are other ways to build muscles that do not require lifting weights. These include calisthenics, bicycling, swimming, hiking, golfing, rowing, tennis, and many others. [ To Top ]
Take advantage of the many facilities available to you at your college for physical activity. There may be a work out facility or gym on your campus that, as a student, you can use cheaply or free of charge. Tennis courts, biking paths, basketball courts, and soccer fields are also widely available on college campuses. Furthermore, there may be physical education classes that you can take for advanced skill building if your are just getting started in a workout routine. This might help you determine your personal fitness level and give you an idea as to what types of exercise you enjoy.
Most types of exercise can double as social events. Going to the gym or for a run with a friend will allow you to spend time with someone that you might not see or talk to as much as you like. Team sports can also provide another opportunity to meet people and to get in shape at the same time.
If you would rather exercise alone, this can also provide an excellent opportunity for you to be alone with your thoughts. Getting away from the campus by going for a walk/run will allow for an escape from the pressures of school and will allow you to have uninterrupted thoughts. You might find that after getting away and exercising alone, you will return to campus refreshed and more prepared to face your campus responsibilities.[ To Top ]
With various activities, classes, work, social life, etc. it can be difficult to fathom adding yet another element to our busy days. However, all it takes is 20-30 minutes a day. After all how many minutes did you spend doing unnecessary things today? Between E-mailing, chatting with friends, and various other time consuming activities, you could probably figure out a way to scrape together 20-30 minutes a day. Try it! Look at what you did today and try to figure out how you can make better use of your time, allowing a few extra minutes for exercise. It may sound like a formidable task, but take a closer look -- you might be surprised.
If you are simply unable to find a solid 30-minute chunk of time during your day, consider trying to accumulate 30 minutes of exercise throughout the day. You could take the long route to a class, take the stairs, do a few jumping jacks in the morning, go dancing at night, or any number of other things.[ To Top ]
No matter what fitness level you are at, physical activity can always improve your fitness. For more information on physical activity, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical/life/tips.html. It is always good to take it easy in the beginning and then gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. This will prevent injury and allow for your fitness level to gradually increase. In order to assess your current fitness level, you might find http://www.shapeup.org/fitness/index.htm helpful.
By individualizing your workout to fit your personal fitness goals, you will make better use of the time that you spend exercising. Also, determining the types of exercise that you enjoy will keep you on track and help you stick with it. First, decide whether you like to exercise alone or with someone else. Having an obligation to another person may help you stick to your work out program, but it could also slow you down. Next, decide whether you prefer exercising outside or inside. There are many different types of physical activities that can be done in both settings. Finally, you may want to vary your work out in order to keep things interesting and prevent boredom with your workout regimen.[ To Top ]
Once you have begun a workout program, the next challenge is sticking with it. Here are some suggestions, that might keep you motivated and excited about physical activity: