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Student Health: Five Fitness Tips

By Florence Lee

Updated February 25, 2021 Updated February 25, 2021

The legendary 'Freshman 15' can easily turn from school myth to reality when you hit the first year of university. We all know the situation: it's fresher's week, you put on a brand new outfit, meet bright new faces, learn strange names, acquire new acquaintances, and of course, join in all the fun parties around campus.

Many students suddenly find themselves in new routines, which usually do not involve the words "fitness" and "exercise", a.k.a. a healthy, academically productive lifestyle. Here's my five top tips on how to break the vicious cycle of living an unhealthy lifestyle and start a new exercise routine

See also: How not to get (too) fat at university >

1. Just do it

I love the Nike slogan, and so should you, because it embodies the spirit everyone needs to kick-start a new routine and launch yourself into something new, fresh and healthy. To get started, first fine-tune your mind. Think about all the benefits of activity and exercise, and do not be ashamed to write these down for reference. The only person who can motivate you to get started is you, so after you give it a think, an easy way to move forwards is simply to get outside and start moving! 

2. Take it step by step

So you've got a small routine going, and maybe you can jog without stopping for 15 minutes. Well done! But always remember that fitness is a long-term goal and one that will hopefully stay with you for the rest of your life. No one needs to overstretch their limits in the early stages of a new exercise routine, and by writing a list of all the fitness goals you want to achieve in increments, it makes things more organized for planning and executing your aims. Do keep up the routine in a pace you feel most comfortable with, otherwise you may suffer from plateaus and exhaustion.  

3. Join a student club

If you're already in university, you will know that there's rarely a sport without an established club. A university is a place where people from all different backgrounds unite and learn – there is a society and club for everyone if you put effort into a little research! 

4. Choose activities you enjoy

Be selective in choosing several exercise routines that you enjoy and feel most comfortable with. Some people are naturally born to run; some are built for swimming; some simply aren't meant for particular exercises. Which type of exercise is suitable for you? Do you enjoy group activities, or are you a solo rider? These points are just some of the many things to think about when you're choosing a sustainable exercise routine for university. If you enjoy something, it's much more likely that that activity will stick around for good. 

5. Find a buddy

Getting started with exercising and fitness with a friend can be extremely rewarding and motivational. Do you know a girl in your lectures who frequently jogs along the river during Friday afternoons? Do you have several friends who often hang out and bike across town for leisure? Why not join them and get a conversation going? Having a partner or an exercise buddy can mean many things, such as fewer workouts skipped, less excuses not to exercise and more company and deep conversations as you all work together for a fitter, healthier body. 

Finally, it's important not to forget one word: balance. Balance is important when you're living life to the fullest (something I'd say all students should do during the golden university years) and it's also very significant when you're striving for a healthy lifestyle. So, get started today - even right now – why not head out for a walk or jog and start stretching those muscles! 

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This article was originally published in June 2013 . It was last updated in February 2021

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