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Getting Up Cardiac Hill: A Guide to Staying Healthy on Campus

Just because beach season is over does not mean that bikini-ready bodies have to go into hiding underneath layers of late-night pizza or French fries. While it may seem intimidating, there are many ways to stay healthy on campus. The tips below will allow you to make it up the hill to the Pete or climb the stairs of the Cathedral without running out of breath.

1. Find alternative ways to work out

Many people are intimidated by the gym, from the daunting machines to the fear of looking like a weakling next to the gym rats lifting weights twice the size of you. First off, remember that no one at the gym cares enough to actually judge you. Most people are so in tune with their own work out that they do not have the time or energy to notice that you did 30 seconds on and 3 minutes off. However, if you are still uncomfortable – or want to fit in a quicker workout – try looking online. Many trainers post videos to YouTube and some even have their own website.

My personal favorite is Blogilates with Cassey Ho. She is HIGHLY energetic and will not only talk you through how to do each workout, but also distract you during your 1000 squats with her latest fun story about music, fashion, and food. Her videos usually last between 5 and 15 minutes long, and the best part? It’s completely free! Sign up for her monthly newsletter at blogilates.com and receive the password for her calendar of workouts or check out her app.

2. Make yourself go

How easy is it to not go to the gym? Ridiculously easy. After all, Netflix only gives you a few seconds before it starts a new episode, and at that point, you just have to stay and watch. However, if you set aside a certain time in your schedule, specifically dedicated to working out, it is much harder to ignore that hour block on your calendar. Apps like Timeful take information from the calendar on your phone and find gaps in your schedule for you to do things you would normally claim you can’t find the time for (e.g. calling home, answering e-mails, and most importantly, working out).

Finding a gym buddy to exercise with will also make it harder for you to back-out of a workout. Try picking someone who is on a similar fitness level as you and make sure to motivate each other to keep going and work harder.

3. Eat in

Pittsburgh has an amazing array of food. However, as college students, our choices tend to me a bit more limited due to budget constraints. With this in mind, eating in, rather than going out for meals, is almost always a better option for your body and your wallet. Instead of getting swayed into going out with a group of friends or experiencing FOMO (fear of missing out), create a potluck and have each person sign-up for a different dish. This ensures a variety of foods and great time with friends.  Additionally, live by the rule that you’ll only eat what you buy. As long as you don’t buy those Oreos that you know you won’t be able to properly stick to the serving size (who really only eats three Oreos?), you’ll stay on the healthy track.

4. Drink, drink, drink

…water. Water does so many amazing things for your body, like keeping you alert and hydrated, refreshes your mind and body, and perks up your skin and whole system. For those of you who aren’t crazy about the taste of water, try adding lemon, cucumber, or other fruit, like this recipe from Blogilates.

Most importantly – do something. Try walking up to the third floor in the Cathedral instead of taking the elevator and holding it up for the people trying to go to the 23rd. Walk to upper campus instead of taking the 10A. Pack a small snack to bring to class so you don’t get hangry (hungry AND angry – a lethal combination) by the time lunch rolls around. Small adjustments to your everyday activities can add up and help you stay healthy on campus.

Image credit: 1, 2-11

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