Staying Fit Through a Pandemic in College

Starting to feel a lot busier? Running out of time to workout? Me too. Many of us are back at school and have found our schedules getting progressively busier. During quarantine, while life was on pause, I found myself with ample time to workout. Staying fit and eating clean became my “project.” I started training a couple times a week with a virtual small group and then got into riding the Peloton. Eventually, I successfully completed a half marathon. I had no time constraints on when I was working out or for how long.

Now that we’re back at school, I am starting to struggle to fit in my workout amongst all of my Zoom classes, club meetings, hours of homework, long lines for food, and (socially-distanced) social time with my friends. All of these things add up and can make it tough to keep up my fitness to the level that it used to be. Yet, there are many little things that we can all do despite our busy schedules to keep us physically and mentally active — some only take 30 seconds! 

 

Go on walks with friends 

Want to socialize and get in some cardio? Many people don’t realize the benefits of walking because we hear about running or lifting weights all the time. Going on a nice stroll is an easy way to help burn some calories, as well as give you some social interaction! I have found these to be a great destresser after staring at my computer screen for hours on end. It’s an easy way to take 30 minutes and catch up with my friends while feeling productive. 

 

Find a short fitness or yoga class 

The internet is a wonderful place. Especially amidst this pandemic, people have been uploading fitness videos to watch and practice at home! There are loads of YouTubers or free fitness plans with workout videos to follow like Chloe Ting or MadFit. Having them so easily accessible on your phone leaves no excuse not to try a couple. There are easy 5-minute ab workouts to 40-minute HITT workouts. Even while gyms are inaccessible, there are many bodyweight options available. I have even seen workouts you can do in your pajamas!

 

Take the stairs 

Many of us are lucky enough to have elevators in our dorms or apartment buildings. Yet, why take the elevator when you can take the stairs? Taking the stairs can give you little cardio bursts while also getting you where you want to go (typically faster than the elevator). It is such an easy way to get in an extra 30 seconds of work that benefits your heart and legs. 

 

Use the gym as a study break 

I know that after a couple hours of Zoom classes and homework I need a longer break. It is so easy to just go lie down for 15 minutes and go on my phone, not being productive at all. Sometimes, yes, watching a Netflix show is necessary for us. But instead of always resorting to the screens during our downtime, plan to make the gym your destresser. It will be hard when you first start a workout, but afterward, you will feel so much more refreshed and ready to start in on your schoolwork again.

 

Find a friend to keep you motivated 

Even if it’s from a distance, you can have a workout buddy! One of my friends and I are constantly keeping each other motivated. I get a notification on my Fitbit when my friend has completed a workout and she gets one if I complete one. This holds me accountable, and it’s a super fun way to stay connected! This accountability doesn’t have to be through a smartwatch; it can be through texting or even in person. Go on a run with your friend or book a time to be in the gym together. Having someone there won’t let you shy away from the workout.