One thing most university students ask themselves during term time is usually: “How on earth do I manage to stay fit and healthy when at uni?”. Between grabbing a Two for Tuesdays at Dominos (because you’re on a strict budget), partying till 4 am and somehow making a 9 am lecture on time, your healthy isn’t always the number one priority. It can be hard to actually find time to hit the gym, eat healthy or drink anything that doesn’t have an alcohol percentage below 2%. It’s about finding that balance and enjoying yourself. It can easily be achieved and it is possible to get a little leaner (smaller beer belly) when at university.
Switch up your routine
Getting fit and healthy doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes dedication, commitment and sacrifice… so that means only two pints instead of four at your local pub. Even the laziest of people can start to burn off the calories by making a few simple tweaks to their everyday routine.
Below we have outlined what we believe to be the most effective routines to follow and why they are beneficial to your health and well being when at university.
1) Get Appy
This is a good place to start when getting yourself into a routine and fit at uni. There are apps that are designed and made to help you get on track to a healthier lifestyle.
At Magnet.me we are no psychics, but let us guess you probably have Tinder, Instagram and Snapchat downloaded onto your phone. Well if you do then you are appy in a whole other way. Getting appy when looking to get fit and healthy at university means downloading apps onto your phone or ipad that are in a whole other category on the app store to what you’ve ever seen before. From Jamie Oliver being the face of most of the apps to them using terms like “listen to your body” or “shred weight”… yea all that good stuff that no one really understands!
With the world going wellness, there is a whole slog of fitness apps popping up all over the place. Apps like Sworkit, 7 Minute Workout and The Insanity Workout are great for squeezing in a quick workout session at home. We have recommended some more in our ‘40 free useful apps for students’ blog. You don’t need much floor space for these apps to get toned up with the personalised routines they use.
Instagram is also a useful app for fitness and wellness. With fitness celebs like Michelle Lewin, Kayla Itsines and Joe Wicks, they post content on workouts, diets and everything in between. It’s good for your newsfeed to be filled with fitness inspiration rather than an ad for a 2 for 1 burger deal at T.G.I Friday’s.
It might also be worth mentioning that lots of great free workout apps appear in top picks around January (when everyone’s desperate to shed Christmas pounds), so keep an eye out then as it could be a start to being more healthier at uni.
2) Walk to uni
Okay, this might be a little on the nose, but is a good way to getting on a healthy track when at uni. You can ‘accidentally’ forget to go to the gym or defrost that chicken (seems like it’s pizza again tonight), but going to and from uni is a must. Understandably for students in London it can be a little far getting to and from the university campus, depending on where you live. However, walking to uni doesn’t mean walking the entirety of the way there and back. If you study at the Imperial College campus in South Kensington and live in Twickenham that’s a brave 2 and a half hour walk (to uni).
Instead, see your walk to uni as a way of getting outdoors and enjoying the great Britsh weather (make sure to wrap up!) So planning your route, where you are walking through, and from there, what transportation you are taking home will help set up a great routine for you when you are going to and from uni. Doing this will keep you active and somewhat fit at uni!
Try the Fitbit Mobile Tracker App to track your steps walked and calories burned. What’s better is it’s FREE to use, FREE to download and you Don’t need a Fitbit to use the app!
3) Join university sports teams
There’s no need to be an Olympic athlete to get involved with your universities sports clubs and societies.
You’ll find a whole host of sports clubs at your university from the bog standard football teams to the weird and wonderful Quidditch teams. The best part is that most are either free or come with a teeny tiny price to join.
Since you’re a student paying full whack on fees and general living costs, society memberships are usually kept as low as possible, so you can get involved without stretching your student budget.
These clubs and societies are a great way to keep fit and healthy as you are part of an organised sporting group that are in some cases relying on your involvement week in and week out. It’s also a great way to socialise and meet new people within your university who share similar interests with you… because not many are prepared to spend their time playing Quidditch.
Staying fit and healthy is a great start on a path to improving your health and well being. And Magnet.me is the perfect place to start to find internships, graduate schemes and graduate jobs that are waiting for you.
4) Play free sports
Staying active and healthy at uni while living on a budget can be difficult. In contrast to the tip above, if you are one of those students that prefers individual sports to team sports (or just can’t be sacked paying £50 joining fees to the university football team), then why not look at the free sport facilities available to you!
Lots of universities, especially around London have access to or indeed their own sporting facilities. Anything from tennis courts to swimming pools and climbing walls.
If you live in a university seaside town like Brighton or Sussex check out if there are tidal swimming pools (which are almost freezing). They’re free, usually Olympic sized and give you the sensation of swimming in the ocean.
5) Home workouts
To follow on from the last tip, home workouts are a perfect way to keep fit and healthy when at university. Let’s be real, the great outdoors can be a massive deterrent to a generous bout of healthy exercise. Especially when it’s too cold, too hot, too rainy or too dry or when you don’t want strangers to see you sweat uncontrollably at the park after just a mile into your latest run.
There is tonnes of stuff you can do in your accommodation to stay healthy. From running up and down the stairs a few times (and pissing off your roomates), squats, press ups and the always reliable star jumps. You won’t have to step a foot out your door.
Just remember no gym, no excuses… unless you are starting on a Thursday maybe leave it to Monday. Bad luck starting the mission to a healthy lifestyle midweek.
6) Cut out junk food
Put the pot noodle down and walk away from the microwave!!
Okay, microwave meals might seem cheap, but you don’t get the goodness or the value for money you can get from buying and cooking big, bulk meals of freshly cooked meals (that aren’t usually stolen by your roommates from your cupboard).
A cupboard filled with crisps and a Dominos delivered to your door might sound like the best night in when you flop onto the sofa after a long hard day of one 1 hour lecture 7 hours ago. But it won’t be doing your waistline or wallet any good.
Alternatively, cooking and preparing meals is a lot cheaper than you think. For instance cooking a whole chicken is cheap and can last for a couple of days. Cut out the takeouts, fatty foods and salty snacks. Not only will you see a difference, you’ll feel it too!
7) Carry a bottle of water
You might be one of those students who is totally on top of this healthy eating business, but have you stopped to think about what else you’re chucking down your throat?
Fizzy drinks like Coke, Sprite or Fanta along with highly sweetened or flavoured fruit juices are only good for two things; rotting your teeth and piling on them pounds to an already out of shape summer body. They are also blinking expensive for what they are.
So that’s why you need to switch to plain old water and you’ll find it’s cheaper (or even free!), much more refreshing and better for you. Yes, the thing you usually use to cure last night’s hangover is essential for you and in fact many experts claim that we must drink up to 10 glasses of water a day.
If you find the taste of water a bit dull and boring, try adding some chopped up fruit to give a bit of flavour on top of being that person at your lectures.
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8) Get more sleep
If you want to be healthier at university, your sleep matters! Any student that gets more than 6 hours of sleep a night, is doing something right. Getting a good night’s sleep is vitally important to maintaining a healthy mindset whilst amongst the intense combination of cramming in 12 weeks worth of work in a matter of night(s) and heading out 6 nights a week.
As students, it’s easy to get into an irregular sleeping pattern. Whether that’s due to staying out all night, doing emergency all night study sessions or simply staying in bed all day after an early morning lecture.
Managing to get a good night’s sleep consistently will make a world of difference. In order to achieve this, try using black out blinds to keep out light, turning off all your tv, laptops and electrical devices to reduce noise and light and potentially using ear plugs if your housemates are being too loud (or didn’t invite you to their pre drinks).
There are also apps for iPhones and Android mobile devices to help you analyze and regulate your sleeping such as: Sleep Cycle, Recolor, Digipill and Pillow. All apps worth looking into and downloading to help improve your night’s sleep.
Not only will you feel mentally refreshed after a good night’s sleep, you will look a lot healthier and happier and is the start to a healthier lifestyle during term time.
9) Go to the gym frequently … and sneakily
Okay, last resort… Gym it!
Most of the time when students ask “How can I stay fit at uni?” or “What’s the best way for me to keep active when at uni?” gyming it seems to always be the answer. This doesn’t exactly fit the theme of this blog, which has been centred on mostly free, cost effective and less time consuming ways to stay fit and healthy when at university, but it’s still an option!
Before joining any gym as a student, whether it’s a large multinational like Puregym or DW Fitness or an independent gym in your local area, be sure to haggle and ask for a student discount on the price! Take advantage of free gym trials and do what you can to get the price down during term time and spend as little to nothing as frequently as you can.
For most students, especially in London you will have access to free or discounted gyms in London. Whether it’s your university’s gym facilities or one associated to student central, you should be able to get away with paying any gym membership when at university!
As a university student, it’s almost impossible to stay fit and healthy. From numerous amounts of fast food vouchers being handed around halls and campuses and buying one pizza and getting one for free (let’s be honest here), why would you ever choose a salad? Especially when Magnet.me is on your campus for one of our drink giveaways.
Talk about the worst timing for that diet to start! However, it has to be done. Through following our tips and guidelines and coming up with your own ideas, you’ll see an improvement in not only your physical health, but also your mental and emotional health as well as your university work.