Hectic schedules and the limiting space of a dorm room make time and motivation for fitness a struggle among college students. However, finding time for a simple 15-minute workout in a day can help improve overall health and fitness.
“It is hard to be motivated when you are tired and work and go to school,” said Bonnie Murphy, kinesiology adjunct instructor.
Murphy said the simplest exercise students can do is walk. Walking is effective as long as you average 10,000 steps a day.
“The No. 1 reason people don’t exercise is time. It’s not that we don’t have time because we do have time,” Allison Krich, kinesiology department associate, said.
“It all comes down to time management and prioritizing exercise like you do with everything else in your schedule,” Krich said.
Alyssa Woods, junior creative writing major, agreed that it is hard to find time in her schedule for exercise, but she tries to make time throughout her week.
“After I finish my homework, I like to break out my yoga mat and do what I can to make time for any fitness,” Woods said. “It is really hard with my busy schedule to be able to find time to take care of yourself and make sure I am staying healthy, even though all the bad foods are so easily accessible,” she said.
Being fit does not necessarily mean spending a lot of money on equipment; students can get creative with how they workout Krich said. With the limiting space of a dorm room, students can get creative with what is around them.
“An easy thing to do is stairs,” Murphy said. “You walk up and down for two or three minutes, you are going to feel that. Especially if you run up and down.”
Murphy suggests using the bottom step of the stairs or a chair from the dorm room to do push-ups and dips. Body weight exercises such as planks, push-ups, lunges and dips are recommended strength moves and do not require any equipment.
“Put strength moves in with some cardio, like (jumping) jacks, and you have the total workout,” Murphy said. “The best exercise combining cardio and strength in one is ‘burpees’ and squat thrusts.”
Jumping rope is a killer cardio exercise and can be combined with strength exercises for a complete workout, Murphy said. She also suggests changing up your routine often and doing a variety of different exercises.
Murphy recommends doing interval workout circuits, for example: 10 to 20 squats, 10 to 20 push-ups, 10 lunges on each leg, a 30-second plank, 10 to 20 dips using a chair, a 20-second right side plank, a 20-second left side plank and 20 burpees.
This circuit can be repeated two to three times, with 60 second rests in between. Murphy said some people may initially find the circuit difficult to complete. She recommends beginners do fewer repetitions and take longer breaks if necessary.
“You always want to challenge yourself, but you never want to hurt yourself,” Murphy said. “Just because someone can do 50 push-ups, doesn’t mean you can.”
The University’s cardio room offers treadmills, stationary bicycles and other cardio training machines that students are able to use if they want to expand their workouts outside of the dorm.
“I teach my students how to exercise wherever they are,” Krich said. “There are a lot of places on campus, such as the track, the outdoor basketball courts over by Vista, you can use and the cardio room equipment.”
Murphy stresses the importance of being well-rested. She said it is important to get at least eight hours of sleep each night.
“When you sleep, everything rebuilds and recharges. The less sleep you get, the tendency is to weigh more. When you weigh more, you are at greater risk for heart disease and diabetes.”
The best motivation is to have a friend to workout with and be held accountable by someone, she said.
“Consistency is the biggest thing. If you get into a consistent routine, you are more likely to stick with it, than if you just do it randomly. If you do it regularly, it gets embedded in your schedule, and you get hooked on it.” Krish said. “You have to be the driving force. You have to be in that mental state that you want to do this,” she added.
Sierra Dasher can be reached at email@example.com.