120227_140613Diagnostic Radiography student Sarah Hurst shares her top tips and advice on how you can stay fit whilst studying at University… 

Being at University brings with it a lot of firsts for many people. Amongst them includes taking control of your own diet, health and well-being. Staying fit is one of the more daunting challenges, as it has to be self-motivated. The move to University may take you away from sports clubs and activities you usually attend, and it can be hard to create a new schedule that works for you. Particularly when you factor in the time demands of travel and studying!

Keep trying new things

The biggest and best possible tip that I’ve ever received, is to just keep trying new things. This is an integral part of going to University anyway, with the various social and academic opportunities available. Chances are there will be sports clubs you can join, which often have trial periods, giving you a schedule to follow as you try something fun and new. BCU normally allocates wednesday afternoons as study-free time for this, and information on their student-run sports clubs can be found here.

If those don’t appeal, there is also the Doug Ellis Sports Centre near the City North Campus. This facility has an all-weather pitch, spinning machines and other exercise equipment, plus exercise classes and fitness trainers. Membership for students is a discounted £150 for 9 months, which includes use of the gym and classes.

If the classes and location of these aren’t convenient, it may also be worth checking out other local gyms or swimming pools. Or alternatively you can exercise at home, which I currently find most convenient.


Get a routine going

It’s always an option to put on a pair of running shoes and go for a jog, or head out for a walk (whether with a dog like me, or solo!). To get a routine going I recommend focusing on how much exercise you want to do in a week, rather than allocating specific days for it. That way you can be flexible for assignment deadlines and a social life, without feeling guilty if you have to push the exercise back a day. Also some days you’re going to feel more motivated than others, so make the most of it and get in some cardio!

For a varied alternative it’s worth looking up exercises that don’t require equipment, such as Pilates, yoga or barre workouts. Exercise routines and instructions are really easy to find now, thanks to YouTube, Pinterest, Google, and fitness apps. Their lack of equipment means you can do these anywhere. Plus you can get routines tailored to specific body areas, types of training (strength, toning, flexibility, calorie burning), and even duration. Many routines are as short as 5-15mins – something you can roll out of bed and do before your morning shower! Try as many as you like, and find which ones suit your fitness level, and that you enjoy enough to want to do again.

Increase your fitness

And finally, there are little changes you can make here and there to help increase your fitness. If you’re using public transport add walking to the mix – get off the bus a stop earlier than you need to, use the stairs instead of elevators. Even something simple like standing on the train instead of sitting can burn up to 42 calories an hour!

I was advised to try new things, and what I would add to that is to make it engaging – by doing a variety of things, changing up the duration, and being more aware of what contributes to your fitness. This approach may not work for everyone, but it should keep exercise from becoming boring, which quickly turns into not-exercising!

If you want to stay in shape during your studies, BCU students can enjoy the great facilities at the Doug Ellis Sports Centre or join one of the many Sports Clubs on campus.

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