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College students, especially students who stay at hostels have a particularly difficult time in staying close to their goal weight. With all the tempting food available easily, eating right seems to be an uphill task. Somehow the thought of exercise seems to be pretty much out of question, as you are perennially rushing against time!
“I don’t think I will put on weight, I have a super fast metabolism.” Well, that’s what you think! But slowly the pounds start creeping on and before you know it, you have already made the journey from fit to fat!
When you want to get back to fit mode, the plethora of information about nutrition and exercises available and easily accessible can be a bit overwhelming.
You really don’t know where to start, what to eat, what not to eat and how to go about your exercise regime. We have already discussed an eating plan, which will help you to shed those extra kilos, so to give your balanced eating plan a boost, we’ll tell you about the right college workouts to really set off the fitness ball rolling.
Some Tips to Make your Fitness Journey Easier
The first thought that comes to your mind when you hear exercise is that “I don’t have time.” Agreed, you have a busy schedule, but then we don’t believe that you don’t have at least thirty minutes to devote to health and fitness!
So, let’s discuss how you can make fitness a part of your life and also talk about some exercises which will not only make you lean, but also make you fit and energetic to perform all your tasks with a lot of verve and spunk.
1. Start small
The thought of spending huge time on exercise may not appeal to you as you may have a demanding schedule and the freedom to eat wherever and whatever. So the thought of a regimented life may not sound all that appealing.
So start with a walk. If you are going somewhere near to an eatery or to a shop to buy something, just walk to that place. Walking is the easiest and the cheapest way to stay fit and healthy. It also can become a part of your daily life seamlessly.
Just increase the time of your daily walk regularly. Also, when you get into the groove of things, you can add a run. Add a ten minute walk and then a five-minute run; it is not very difficult if you come to think of it. Or if a run seems too much, just change the pace of your walking. Walk fast for a few minutes and then slow down.
This comes closest to interval training, Science has substantiated that interval training is much more effective in bringing up your fitness levels than a steady pace of cardio.
2. Take the stairs
Incorporating exercise is not too difficult if you set your mind to it. Climbing stairs are the easiest thing you can do to shed the extra pounds. You can even take two stairs at a time to speed things up. Even when you are at a fancy shopping plaza ignore the elevators and take the stairs.
It not only works as a good cardio workout, but also helps tone your leg muscles. Imagine you are getting an invigorating workout right in the middle of a busy schedule and that too for free! That’s right, you don’t really need to get yourself a membership at a plush gym to stay fit.
A little bit of your time and your indomitable will power is enough!
3. Try to eat the most part of your day healthily
This is the difficult part, since you are on your own and since you don’t have your mother constantly at you to have your veggies, you kind of just let go. When you are at a get-together, all you do is guzzle endless cans of cola or feast on jumbo pieces of pizza.
We aren’t telling you to stop socializing, just to control the amount of food you put on your plate. Have a pizza, but stop at one or two pieces. Also, avoid potato chips and other packaged stuff. If you cannot eliminate them, just reduce your intake.
When you go out to eat, select whole-wheat, or brown over white. Most shops have that now, so instead of going for a cheese filling, select a sandwich which has more veggies. Select black coffee instead of your frothy cappuccino.
There you go, small swaps can be so very effective!
4. Don’t stuff your hostel room with processed food
You might spend hours at your study table during examination time, and the first thing you do is eat all kinds of stuff you shouldn’t be eating.
Sometimes you feed yourself just out of sheer boredom and not because you are really hungry. For moments like these, drink a glass of water, then look for the healthiest stuff you find.
Stock on unsalted nuts or fruits, combine them with peanut butter, or go for whole-wheat crackers. If you have the amenities to make coffee, you can have a cup of black coffee. Avoid having it at night though, as it might keep you awake when you want to sleep.
Give yourself time to shop at your nearby supermarket. Healthy eating is not always expensive. Don’t go for low-fat packaged snacks. They are sometimes the most processed ones.
In fact, healthy fats should always be an intrinsic part of your diet. You can try storing snacks like roasted wheat, roasted moong, soy sticks, puffed rice and so on.
5. Practice pranayama and yoga
Since this is the time you begin to take your career seriously, sometimes it becomes just too stressful. Occasional stress is a major part of everyday academic life. It can sometimes even have a positive effect, urging you to meet new goals.
However, extremely high levels of stress over a prolonged period of time are linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases.
So, to combat the stress, pranayama and yoga should be made a regular part of your regime. It does not need any fancy equipment, just your mat and your will to stay fit and healthy.
The Best Exercises for College Students
The best workouts for college students to lose weight should include workouts which can be done just about anywhere. Just chalk out a plan to include these exercises and you will find that exercise does not take much time, rather it helps you feel energetic, fresh and raring to go.
There are some exercises which you can do within the confines of your hostel room. That’s right, you don’t have to venture out. So start sweating now-
1. Tabata training
Tabata workouts are intense, heart-pumping, calorie blasting, quick, and very effective, and help you lose weight really quickly.
Tabata exercises consist of 20 seconds of non-stop exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times. This comprises of 4 minutes of high intensity activity, which helps to burn the fat real fast.
Some moves which you must include in your Tabata routine-
2. Jump Squats
Jump squats are great exercises which help improve your lower and upper body strength, develop muscles, get rid of fat and tone overall muscles. They help build overall body strength.
Stand straight and keep your feet hip-width apart, with toes parallel to one another. Work your glutes and core, and bring your hips back as you sink into a squat.
Once you are down into a squat, explode all the way up using your strength, but remember that you have to get both your feet off the ground.
Land softly on your toes, and immediately sink into your next squat. Repeat the exercise. To make it easier, you can skip the jump if you want to. But build it up and try to include the jump.
The plank is one of the best exercises you can do for your core because it helps build isometric strength, sculpts your waistline and improves your posture. And also, depending on the type of plank you try, you can also deploy your back, arms, shoulders, glutes, and hamstrings.
Start by getting your body into a press up position. Bend your elbows and put your weight on your forearms and not on your hands. Your body should be aligned in a straight line right from shoulders to ankles.
Activate your core by sucking your belly button towards your spine. Hold this position for the stipulated time.
4. High knees
This is a great cardio workout to get your heart pumping if performed regularly, and it also lends flexibility and power to the lower limbs. It works your quadriceps, hamstrings, abductors and so on.
Stand straight and keep your feet hip-width apart, look straight ahead and keep your arms hanging down by your side.
Now start jumping from one foot to the other and at the same time try to lift your knees as high as possible, almost to hip height.
The arms should follow the motion.
Ensure that you touch the ground with the balls of your feet.
5. Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks are a really good all over body exercise great for cardiovascular health and strengthening.
The alternating movement of the arms overhead and the legs takes your heart rate into overdrive, and therefore stimulates blood flow to a large number of muscle groups. There is no need for any equipment to perform a jumping jack, just some space will do.
6. Jumping without a rope
Jumping burns exactly the same number of calories as running in place, and about 20 percent more than the traditional form of jogging.
Just jump in the same place continuously for 1 minute. Make a movement with your hands as if you are doing a jump rope. Feel your accelerated heart rate when you go all out.
Perform each move below, alternating 20 seconds of all-out effort with 10 seconds of rest. Continue to repeat the same move for 8 rounds, for a total of 4 minutes. Then perform the movement right from the one you started, following the same directions. You should complete the entire list of moves in 24 minutes.
- Warm up
- Jumping jack
- Jumping without rope
- High knees
- Jump squats
Besides enabling weight loss, yoga also encourages us to emphasize on what we strive to learn, to broaden our horizons, and nurture new understandings.
Yoga is a natural anti-depressant; you can drive away all your stress and it also fills you up with an amazing calmness.
8. Downward Dog
Downward-facing dog is one of the most effective yoga poses, and is also fundamental in certain yoga sequences. It helps strengthen your hands, wrists, lower back, hamstrings, calves, and Achilles tendon. It also helps decrease your back pain by strengthening the entire back and shoulder girdle.
You should get into a kneeling position on a mat, place your hands and arms straight out in front of you and then lift your tailbones back and up to the sky so that the body forms an inverted V-frame.
Keep your belly taut while stretching the arms in front of you and keep your palms on the floor. Feel a stretch in the hamstrings and your calf muscles as you aim to press your heels into the floor.
Place your head and neck with your back and look up toward your belly. Stay in this pose for a minute or two while you continue to take deep inhalations and exhalations to relax and rejuvenate.
9. The warrior pose or Virabhadrasana
It strengthens your shoulders, back, arms, legs, ankles. It opens your hips, chest, and lungs and also improves your focus, stability, and balance. It also encourages good circulation and respiration. This pose gives a stretch to your arms, legs, neck, shoulders, groins and ankles. You feel deeply energized after doing the exercise.
You start with a mountain pose, followed by stretching one of your legs back, and the other leg should go into a lunge position with your knee positioned at a ninety-degree and your hands stretched right above your head.
You can take this to an advanced level to the Virabhadrasana II or warrior pose 2, where you bring your hands right in front of the chest and straighten your stretched leg, pointing it outwards while your other leg remains at ninety degrees and you stretch out both your arms wide apart.
10. Upward plank or Purvottanasana
This may seem a bit difficult to master at first go, but yields effective results. This works greatly on your back, shoulders, spine, arms, and wrists, and strengthens muscles. It also works upon your respiratory system. It is great for developing core strength of the body and works on your legs and hips, as well as thigh muscles.
Try and sit with your legs stretched right in front of you. Put your hands on your hips, pointing towards your feet. Now, point your feet and prepare your body to rise up. Coerce your body to rise from the tailbone and try to pull your head back as well. It is the exact opposite move of a push-up.
These exercise plans for college students should be included most days of the week to reap its benefits. Staying fit and healthy is a habit which should be inculcated right from the beginning. Doctors and fitness experts declare that 20s is the ideal time to jumpstart your fitness regime, especially with your body all agog with energy and vitality. So go ahead start young, you sure won’t ever regret that decision!