Get Fit in Your Dorm Room

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Arriving at college can give rise to a whole new list of challenges, from difficult classes to living alone.  One of the biggest challenges new students face is the ‘Freshman 15’, the fabled weight gain from having cheap and easy access to an array of unhealthy food.  Without parents putting our food in front of us, it’s all too easy to start adding fries and a soda to every meal we eat.  But it’s not just diet.  Lack of exercise plays a huge role in making unhealthy college students.  Most of us played a sport in high school.  It was a great way to exercise, meet people, and it looked good on a college application, but once we came to Santa Clara we slowly stopped the daily workouts, and most of us couldn’t play for the Santa Clara teams.  Exercise is a key part of keeping healthy, but with the busy life of a college student it can be difficult to get a workout in.   Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of exercises that you can use for a quick and challenging workout without leaving your room!


Usually when people want to improve stomach tone, they do sit-ups.  The plank is a better way to work your core, as it stresses your abdominals, obliques, and back muscles, and puts less stress on your neck.  To do the plank, lie on your stomach, then push yourself up on your forearms and toes.  Allign your elbows directly under your shoulders.  Try to keep your back straight, and hold for as long as you can.


This is the opposite of the plank, and it works your obliques and back muscles more than the plank.  Lie flat on your back, then push your legs up so your feet are flat on the ground, and your legs are perpendicular to the ground.  Arch your back so it’s off the ground.  Rest your shoulder blades on the ground.  Make sure you aren’t trying to push off against your neck or head.  Hold for as long as possible.


One of the simplest and most useful exercises, pushups give you a comprehensive upper body workout without weights.  Start by lying on the ground, hands shoulder width apart, then extend your arms until they’re straight.  Try to do as many repetitions as you can, but 10 is usually a good starting point for most people.



The squat helps you develop leg and core strength.  Start in a standing position and slowly sit down, until your upper legs are parallel to the floor.  Keep your knees in line with your feet.


Proper stretching is an important part of any workout routine.  It keeps your muscles from getting too sore and from cramping during exercise.  Here are three simple stretches that you should perform before and after every workout.  With each one, you should hold each side for 10 seconds, or do it twice.

Touch your toes:  Lean forward and try to touch your toes.  Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.

Shoulder Stretch:  Clasp your hands behind your back and lift your arms up until it’s slightly uncomfortable.  Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.

Quad Stretch:  While standing, lift your foot up behind you and hold it with your hand.  Hold it for 15 to 30 seconds.  If you have trouble balancing, steady yourself by holding onto a chair.


The Workout

Remember, these exercises are just tools to get in shape, it’s not enough to just do them when you’re bored.  We’ve organized a quick workout.  This is something to do a few times a week, when you need a energy boost or if you don’t have time to go to the gym.


Stretches (2 min)

Plank (2 x 1 min, 30 seconds rest)

Rest for 1 minute

Pushups (2 x 15, 30 seconds rest)

Rest for 1 minute

Back Bridge (2 x 1min, 30 seconds rest)

Rest for 1 minute

Squats (2 x 20, 30 seconds rest)

Stretches (2 minutes)


There you have it!  A quick workout that can help you fight some of the bad habits school seems to encourage.  Adjust and add exercises as you get more comfortable with the routine.



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