Five healthy hacks for gym-goers on a tight schedule

Midterms may be behind us, but now that the semester is half over, presentations and projects are piling up for us students. It can be hard to stick with former goals about exercising daily when there are so many deadlines and other commitments buzzing around in our brains.

Here are five simple tips that will keep you feeling good about your physical health amidst the rush of academics.

1. Get up earlier.
Lots of people exercise at night, but if you’re staying up even later than usual to exercise, you’re only losing sleep. Besides, morning exercise boosts your metabolism, endorphins, and burns more calories throughout the day.

2. Find quicker workouts. You can tape them up beside your desk, or wherever you study at home. You don’t have to be at the gym for an hour to stay fit. A ten-minute ab routine or desk exercises throughout the day may not give you crazy toning, but they will retain the fitness you have and keep you feeling alert and active. These mini workout sessions are easy to find – a quick Google search will yield more results than you need.

3. Substitute fitness dates for coffee dates. You may be so busy because you want to stay in touch with so many people throughout the week. To save a little cash and multitask, ask a friend to come on a run or walk with you, or visit the gym. They’ll be more likely to say yes if they’re already active people, but if they hesitate, feel free to encourage them to try something new. You could get a new running partner out of the deal.

4. Exercise before every shower.
Even if it’s only ten minutes, take advantage of your need to shower by working up a quick sweat. It helps if your apartment is clean and you always know you have a space on the floor to use for this workout. Keep your pre-shower routine taped somewhere convenient, so you don’t have to pull it up on your phone. (That extra effort might keep you from working out.)

5. Do life the hard way. Take the stairs. Walk instead of taking the bus. (If you live down the hill from campus, this will really benefit your exercise routine.) Stand up instead of sitting down when you get the chance. Walk while you take phone calls or answer emails. Park your car far away from wherever you need to be. As a student living off-campus, I decided to park in the orange lot again this year, because I actually enjoy the walk from the back of the lot to my classroom. Going without small comforts is better for you in the long run, even though some days you may question whether the hard way is worth your time.

Even if you already exercise every day, these are ways that can help you stay even more active and keep your body working along with your brain. When you feel stressed, taking a break from homework and technology will help you re-focus and be more productive when you come back. Do you have any exercise tips for us? Share them on social media with the hashtag #MSUfit.

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