Staying fit and healthy is incredibly important for not only physical well-being but mental health too. A lot of students find it quite challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle while at university, due to the influx of nights out, heavy drinking and greasy takeaways. Not to mention all the time spent studying and attending lectures.
But if you want to stay fit while being a student, you need to put in the time and effort to make it happen. It doesn’t have to cost much or even anything at all. Here are some of the ways you can incorporate a healthier routine into your student lifestyle.
Join a Sports Team
Universities are swarming with clubs and societies, and that includes sports clubs. You don’t need to be an athlete to join. True, if you’re a complete newbie to a sport you likely won’t make the university team, but most clubs will still accept beginners and casual players to form lower-level teams that can play just for fun. Sports teams are a great way to stay fit, make new friends and learn a new skill.
There’s everything from football, hockey, netball, rugby, American football, archery, basketball, rowing, cricket, fencing, athletics and squash as well as many more. Even if you didn’t join at the start of the year, you should still be able to take part if you sign up now. You’ll have so much fun doing a sport that you won’t even know you’re doing exercise.
Cook Home Cooked Meals
This one is a bit obvious, but a lot of students struggle with it. Cooking meals from scratch can seem like a very time-consuming activity, which can be frustrating when you’d rather be socialising or getting underway with that essay that’s due next week. But it’s important to try and incorporate fresh, healthy meals into your diet or you’re likely to grow sluggish.
Students cannot live on takeaways alone, although some may try. Home cooking doesn’t need to take a long time, and it doesn’t need to be expensive either. Have a look online for recipes and filter the results by prep and cooking time, you’ll be surprised at just how quickly some meals can be prepared. Take a look at vegetarian recipes too; loose, fresh veg is surprisingly cheap and will make up the main bulk of a lot of vegetarian recipes.
Once you’ve got a few cheap, healthy and quick meals under your belt, you can break them out whenever you need a good meal. And don’t forget to make multiple portions so you can freeze them for a later date, perfect for when you don’t have any time to cook.
Hydration is essential, but ditch those fizzy drinks and get yourself a reliable water bottle that you can take with you to lectures. Fizzy drinks are full of sugar which is only good for rotting your teeth and piling on the pounds. While the occasional Coke or Fanta is not going to do you much harm, drinking them every day certainly won’t do your body any favours.
Water is refreshing, free and very good for your body. And if you find it boring, you can chop up some fruit to give it some flavour.
Go for Walks
No time for a sports club or regular exercise? Walking is a great way to stay fit with basically no effort at all. Lancaster is a wonderful place to go walking, with beautiful scenery and a dedicated walking/cycle path that takes you from the city centre to Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria.
Try getting up a bit earlier and walking to university a few times a week rather than getting the bus. You can use the time to listen to a podcast or an audiobook so you don’t get bored, or you could get one of your housemates to join you so you can both stay fit together.
Student Gym Membership
Getting a gym membership can be expensive, and a lot of people feel it’s a waste of money if they’re not going regularly. So it’s important to be really dedicated to the idea of going to the gym and staying fit before you make the financial investment.
But, as a student, you will be entitled to a much cheaper membership at your university’s gym. The gym at the University of Cumbria offers a set annual fee for students for the use of their fitness room, fitness classes and sports facilities. At Lancaster University, you can get per-term or a yearly membership of varying levels depending on whether you want around the clock access to all the facilities or cheaper, more limited access. Either way, the cost of memberships are significantly reduced compared to the membership costs for members of the public, so if you think the gym is for you, you’ll benefit immensely from these discounts.
If you really don’t have the money for a gym membership, there are plenty of free apps online that can help you stay fit. These apps are designed to talk you through a fitness workout that can be done right at home with no equipment needed. They can provide you with fitness goals, track your progress and even suggest diet plans. Some of them might have costs for full access, but it’s likely to be much cheaper than a gym membership.
Additionally, YouTube is full of fitness workouts run by professional fitness trainers that you can follow along at home. Just get yourself a gym mat, start a video on your laptop and follow along. Do this a few times a week; it’s a great way to stay fit completely free of charge!
We hope this has helped to inspire you to get those running shoes on and start a healthier lifestyle. At Student Housing Lancaster, we provide outstanding student accommodation in Lancaster. If you’re looking for somewhere to live next year, you can browse our listings online.