It did not come as a surprise to me when I became less active after high school. In gym class, every single exercise was graded. I was never the best at sports, but I loved to participate when I wasn't being forced to. I always enjoyed biking and walking the forested paths in my hometown, but when I moved I was suddenly less motivated to explore. It was a new place with new faces and I needed to get used to those factors before I developed a routine. With all of the responsibilities that come with being a moderately successful college student, it can be difficult to take time out of a busy schedule for things like going to the gym. After marching band season, my workouts were limited to walking to class and taking the stairs every now and then. It was a little later, with my roommate at the time, that I got involved at the university's fitness center. This is a list of ways to stay active in college.
1. Find a workout partner. There is nothing more motivational to me than having someone going through the struggle with you. Whether it be friends, family members, a significant other, or your pet, I always feel better knowing I'm not alone.
2. Wear comfortable gear. Sometimes I get impromptu invites to go running with friends when I am wearing the outfit I wore to class that day. I am much more comfortable in my favorite running shoes, yoga pants or running shorts, and a tank top than I am in cargo shorts or skinny jeans and a semi-dressy top. I would wear yoga pants every day if I could. Get something durable like New Balance or Under Armour brands. I am planning on getting a sports bra similar to Hydro Pocket and a FlipBelt to hold my important items.
3. Go to your school's fitness center. There are tons of free classes, racquetball, basketball, tennis, track, and more. It's closer than a membership gym, and it's all for free with your student I.D.
4. Make a routine. Try not to be too sporadic with your sessions so it is easier for your body to get used to. Every week or so, or every other day if you're able, increase the difficulty of your workout little by little. If you're a morning person, workout in the morning. If you aren't free most days until late afternoon like me, then do it at night. You can even do some yoga exercises while you study.
5. Take breaks. This also means during sessions. It's okay to take a few minute break in the middle. It all depends on your body and your routine. Take a day or two off in between sessions, or half a day if you're immortal...
6. Set a realistic time sensitive goal. I am running daily with my dog around the apartment complex, though I ran the track with my roommate up until this summer, so that I can be ready for a 5k Glow Run at the end of next month. If you're trying to fit into that bridesmaid dress or you just want to run for the fun of it, goals are always a start. Even if you don't meet your goal, at least you gave yourself something to strive for.
7. Eat the right foods. I learned the hard way that eating the wrong foods or not eating at all before exercising can make you sick. Long story short, do not eat a two-course meal right before running and do not only drink water. Things like fruit, nuts, granola, and trail mix have been perfect pre-workout snacks. Just make sure to stay hydrated as well.
8. Make a playlist. It's crazy how much you forget you are wheezing and sweating like a pig when you are jamming to some good tunes. This playlist might even include your favorite podcast or audio book.
9. Work on your weaknesses. I am flatfooted and have bunions. In colder weather, it doesn't take much for my ankles and knees to ache. Because of this, I make sure to wear comfortable shoes and do exercises that strengthen my weak points. That being said, I do not lift weights very often despite my arms basically being twigs.
One step at a time, I guess? Happy workout!