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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Exeter chapter.

Having just started university, it can be very tempting to head down the lazy route, eat takeaways and do very little exercise.  However, it doesn’t always have to be like this. Going to uni and having a fresh start is actually a perfect opportunity to get in the zone and improve your health and fitness. Here’s why:

Cooking for yourself

 If you’re in self-catered accommodation, as the name suggests, you will be lucky enough to be preparing and cooking all your own meals. For some people, this new independence means a pot noodle for lunch and beans on toast for diner, but if you are serious about getting fit you must endeavour for this to not be the case. The benefit of cooking for yourself now is that you are able to eat what you want and when you want, instead of being dictated about what the rest of the family want to have, which I’m sure is the case in most homes. Take this opportunity to make conscious choices about what you eat, and whether what you’re eating is good for you. We may all be tempted to shove a pizza in the oven, but a chicken salad is just as easy to do and much more nutritious. 

If you are in catered accommodation, it may be a touch harder to make healthy choices, but it can still be done. There is always more than one meal on offer so make the decision on whether you want to provide your body with the healthy minerals it needs. Maybe make the fry up a once a week treat! 

The gym

The chances are, your university has an amazing gym, and it’s also likely to be a very cheap membership for students. So join! It’s astonishing how many variations of activities can be done in the gym- whether you want to do some cardio, resistance work, weight work, or even participate in a class, everything is there for you.  Knowing you’re paying for a gym membership also encourages you to exercise more and get your money’s worth, so aim to go to the gym 4-5 times a week and you’ll be fit in no time!

Sports clubs and societies

Similar to the above point, with the gym at the university also comes the sports park and the clubs. University is the perfect opportunity to try a new sport, so get involved! Whether it be football, netball, dancing, Quidditch… and many more, give it a try. Playing a sport is such a fun way to burn calories and improve your fitness, and you may even make some friends along the way too. 


Being a university student, first year particularly, generally means having no car. Although this may seem devastating at first, having to walk to most places will actually do you good.  A 20-minute brisk walk can burn up to 80 calories (depending on how fast you walk) so plug your headphones in, take a deep breath, and enjoy your walk into town knowing that you are making yourself fit in the process. 


Starting university is definitely a manic few weeks, but it’s fair to say an abundance of friends are made in the process. Take advantage of this and exercise together! Whether it’s a walk, run, fitness class or gym session, exercising together makes the procedure 10 times more enjoyable for all participants, thus encouraging you to do it more often. Try and mix up the activities you do together so it doesn’t get boring, and before you know it you will want to be exercising even more. 


So, what are you waiting for? Get those trainers on and get active!

I am a second year student studying Politics with Sociology at the University of Exeter. I have a passion for exercise, fitness, and writing.