If you’re a full-time student, you understand the demands of your study load is often more intense than a full-time job, yet on top of that we’re also supposed to worry about social lives, making actual money and attempting to stay healthy.
You can’t hide from me – I know the one thing we tend to neglect during semester is our health and wellness.
This is actually the worst thing we can do during weeks 7-13 of semester as exercise offers countless benefits, including increased energy, focus and better cognitive function. Yep – you can improve your exam performance before you even pick up that textbook.
I understand squeezing in a workout between three lectures, two tutorials and a workshop can be tricky, so here’s five tips to help you find time for your health and wellness.
1. Fail to prepare then prepare to fail
If you want to improve your chances of following through with those exercise plans, make a schedule.
Legit – if you write it down then you hold yourself accountable for it rather than having that fight in your head about what exercise class to do today and then all of a sudden it’s 8pm and you’re already in bed and never set foot within a 10km radius of a gym. We’ve all been there.
At the start of every week look at your schedule and plan when you’ll have enough time to get to the gym. Start off with 2-3 times during the week and one time on the weekend and increase if you can. Baby steps, baby steps.
2. Walk don’t run
You don’t have to run a marathon to improve your fitness and activity. Just start walking! I’m sure if you have a pet they’re already begging you to. Walking is a great place to start, and by squeezing in just 30 minutes a day you can boost your health and increase your fitness levels.
An activity tracker is also a great way to help you set up and achieve goals. Between 10,000 and 16,000 steps a day is an ideal weight management goal. This can be achieved by parking further away from campus, doing active travel if you can, walk to your class on the other side of campus and taking the stairs! I know there’s plenty of these on campus – no excuses here.
3. Clean up your sh*t
Okay so just hear me out before you scroll past this one. Whilst cleaning up your room or house is guaranteed to fall below exercises on your to do list, it’s still a form of physical activity yeah? Take regular breaks when studying at home to clean up your home.
Did you know your body burns more calories when standing up vs. sitting down? Even if you’re standing still! What an easy way to burn more calories throughout the day – it’s that simple.
You can accomplish this by sweeping, vacuuming, doing the dishes and laundry. Now I know we all dread doing these things but don’t tell me you don’t feel a whole lot better once they’re actually done.
A clutter free environment also improves your focus, makes you feel good and is a great way to take breaks from your study. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself after you’ve finished that dreaded study finally and you can sit back and relax because you’ve been active and your room is clean!
4. Make it a date
Make dates with your partner or friends to be active! Meet up with them for the ANZAC memorial walk in Newcastle. This track also links to Council’s Bathers Way, a six kilometre coastal walk linking Newcastle’s beaches and stretching from Merewether Ocean Baths to Nobbys Beach.
What an amazing thing to experience. Any time of day you do this the view will be spectacular! Talk about killing two birds with one stone – a date and exercise done and dusted.
5. Become a morning or arvo exerciser
So this tip involves some self- awareness. Everybody is different, with different preferences and schedules. Nobody said you have to exercise in the morning, I admire people who do honestly, but I’ve tried – and it’s not for me.
If you’re not a morning person, committing yourself to pre-dawn workouts may lead to excessive use of the snooze button and ultimately no exercise being done. Consider when you are most likely to work out, and schedule your workouts during that time.
Take myself as an example I spent years trying to get up early and exercise only resulting in two years of on and off commitment. I realised that if I plan to exercise in the afternoon after completing classes, finishing my readings and watching Netflix in-between, I was more likely to stick to those plans in the afternoons.
So I typically find time between 4pm and 6pm to workout, even if that means going for a 30 minute walk. An added bonus about this time of day is the sky is beautiful and you can catch pink and orange glimpses of an early sunset as well as the sun dying off making it a cooler temperature – I also hate the heat.