Why should students exercise?
Not only is exercise good for your overall health and fitness, but it also boosts your mental wellbeing.
Exercise will help keep you calm during exams. You’ll feel more energised and refreshed, and that will help you perform better in your studies.
Also, regular physical activity will help to keep you at a healthy weight and lower your risk of major illnesses such as heart disease and some cancers.
Keeping active doesn’t require a lot of time and effort. Doing 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of moderate intensity physical activity, such as fast walking or cycling, every week will give you many health benefits.
If you’re not interested in sport, or school PE lessons have put you off exercise, now’s your chance to try a new activity, such as dance or martial arts. You could be pleasantly surprised and make new friends at the same time.
Getting started with exercise
First you need to find out what’s available in your area.
Most universities and colleges provide students with sports facilities including a pool and gym. There will usually be a sports centre on campus or nearby with a range of activities from badminton and basketball to archery and aerobics. Some universities offer up to 100 different sports clubs, so there should be an activity to suit you.
A tight budget is no excuse to miss out as college sports facilities are generally heavily subsidised, and sometimes free. Ask at your student union for more information.
You could also ring your local council to find out what other sporting facilities are available locally.
Exercise the easy way
You don’t need to make a special trip to a sports centre to reach your weekly quota of exercise. There are easy ways to get some exercise into your daily routine.
- Walk to your lectures instead of getting the bus.
- Take the stairs rather than the lift.
- If you have a bike, ride it to classes or go for a bike ride with friends.
- Rent or buy an exercise DVD. Share the cost (and the fun) with your housemates.
- If you’re going out in the evening, dance. It’s a great way to meet new friends as well as to keep in shape. (Watch the video on street dancing at the end of this article for more details.)
- Go for a jog with friends before going to college, or between classes.
- At lunchtime or weekends, kick a football around with your friends in the park, or have a game of volleyball.
Exercise tips for exam times
During exams you may feel unable to take much time out from studying. Instead of giving up on exercise altogether, try taking small, regular breaks to refresh yourself and clear your mind. A 15-minute brisk walk to the library or around campus is a good way of getting some exercise.
You could also try to exercise first thing in the morning. You may find it wakes you up and gives you energy for the day. Try swimming, a gentle jog or doing some stretching exercises.
Think about what times of day you work best. Some people find revising and completing coursework easier in the morning, whereas others are more productive in the afternoon or evening. Plan your day and fit some exercise around your study plan.