Top 10 Ways to Get Your Exercise While in College

Chances are you have heard of the dreaded "freshman 15" -- the belief that most college freshman gain an average of 15 pounds their first year in school. While most studies say that number is inflated, there is no denying that the cheap processed foods, hectic schedules and horrendous sleeping habits that practically define the college experience can wreck havoc on your waistline (and your self esteem). Commit to something better with these top 10 ways to get your exercise while in college.

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10 ways to win the battle of the bulge in college

1. Get an active job

Need to work your way through college? Make the most of it by getting an active job. Wait tables, lead bike tours or walk dogs on the side. With a little creativity, you can find a gig that maintains your physique and your bottom line.

2. Multi-task

Ever blown off a workout because you just had to study? Hosh posh. Thanks to smart phones stuffed with education apps, e-readers and digital recorders, you can study on the go. Look over your notes or flash cards while cruising on a treadmill or exercise bike or revisit a recorded lecture while jogging.

3. Schedule it like a class

Many students make a point to get to class because they know playing hooky can wreck havoc on their GPAs. Apply the same mentality to exercise; after all, putting your good health on the back burner can be just as detrimental to your future as botching your transcript.

4. Join the club

Did you know exercise is a great social lubricant? School cycling, rock climbing or other physical clubs are a great medium for both friend- and fitness-building.

5. Do some good

Charities and non-profits like the American Cancer Society or the March of Dimes often host physically-inclined fundraisers, like relays or 5Ks. The next time one rolls around to your neck of the woods, sign up -- consider it an investment in your good health (and karma).

6. Make it a date

Have a hot date? Make it a little hotter: Work up a sweat at an indoor rock climbing facility or skating rink. Long walks on the beach may be cliché, but they are still good for the body (and soul).

7. Ditch the ride

Cars are an amazing invention, but that doesn't mean you have to rely on them all the time. Why not ditch the car and walk or ride your bike around town? Take it a step further and put the money you save on gas toward a gym membership.

8. Take the scenic route

Can't make it to the gym? Up your exercise by tweaking your routine in simple ways. When walking to your next class, don't take the most direct route. Park further away than normal. Take the stairs more often. In other words, shun modern conveniences that enable your inner couch potato.

9. Recruit a friend (or pet)

Finding a workout buddy makes exercise more enjoyable and offers a sense of accountability. The same holds true for four-legged pals, so grab Fido and hit the pavement. No time for a pet? Borrow one from a friend or offer to exercise pups at your local shelter.

10. Turn it off

These days everyone has a smart phone, laptop and any number of additional gadgets that serve a good purpose, but invariably turn into time-sucks. Tempted to stream another hilarious Tosh.0-worthy video? Just shut the thing off and head outside. That goes double for those who attend online colleges since they already spend a tremendous amount of time online.


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Find help when you need it

Has the scale already begun to work against you? Are you having trouble balancing school with your good health? Fortunately more schools than ever before are aware of the healthy lifestyle challenges college students face and have begun offering solutions, like pristine fitness centers, health clinics and weight-savvy dining options. Many campuses even offer nutrition counseling. Take advantage of these perks!

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