Staying active in college can be tough without the routine that high school sports or family gym memberships provided. However, this freedom just opens up ways to find new ways to exercise and develop a healthy lifestyle. Here are 5 fun, easy, and accessible ways to stay active in college.
1. Rock climb
No matter where you live, there’s guaranteed to be a place to rock climb near by. It may be outdoors, at a local climbing gym, or even at your college’s fitness center (a feature that is becoming more and more common on college campuses).
Climbing is a great way to work on staying active as it exercises your entire body, and its so fun that you don’t even realize it’s happening. It’s also a great mental challenge- making it to the top of a route is as much of a puzzle as it is a physical feat.
It can be intimidating to start rock climbing if you’ve never done it before, or even if you have. Just know that the climbing community is incredibly supportive and there to help you! If you start climbing regularly, you’ll definitely make at least one new friend, and get plenty of pointers.
There’s lots of different ways to climb, so if heights aren’t your thing, try bouldering! You won’t get more than about 15 feet off the ground, and you don’t need any gear besides shoes.
If you want to get into rope climbing, all the gear you need should be available for rent at any facility you visit, though once you start going regularly, I recommend investing in your own.
Regardless of your skill level or interests, there’s something for you in your area, and you’re guaranteed to leave your climbing workout feeling gratified.
If you go to college in a more rural setting, hiking trails are sure to be right around the corner. If you’re in the city, you might have to work a little harder to find them, but they’re out there. And the best part about hiking? It’s almost always free.
Aside from gas or an Uber or subway fee, hiking shouldn’t cost you anything. Reservations and conservations are great places to go to look into, and you can usually just show up and start hiking.
Hiking is another work out that’s built for every skill level and any level of exercise. If you’re looking for just a stroll through the woods, there will be a trail for that. If you’re looking for a full body challenge with steep inclines and rocky paths, there will be a trail for that too.
Hiking is a great change of pace, especially if you live in the city, and as much as it can be physically demanding, it can also be mentally relaxing. The best hikes will culminate in an amazing view that will make the entire trip worthwhile (if you weren’t having fun already).
You don’t need any supplies to hike other than some good shoes and a full water bottle, so there’s no reason you wouldn’t be able to enjoy this refreshing mode of staying active.
Similar to hiking, your options here will be different if you go to school in the city versus someplace a little bit closer to nature. However, just like hiking, you’ll have some kayaking options no matter where you live.
If you live in the city, there are most likely rental options with local rivers. These are a common tourist attraction, so they’re usually very affordable- you can get a day’s worth of kayaking in for under $20.
Just because this is a tourist attraction, doesn’t mean it isn’t a great option for locals! City kayak rentals typically offer an incredible view of the city from the water, and it can be as much of a work out as you make it. Once you’re in your boat, you’re free to simply float and take in the sights, or paddle hard and make it a tough work out.
If you live outside the city, there’s probably rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water extremely close by. If your school offers kayak and gear rentals, you’re all set, but even if they don’t, other rental companies are generally pretty affordable.
No matter where you kayak or how far you paddle, you’ll have made it out on the water, taken in some great views, and taken a great step towards staying active.
4. Go for walks
While less of a specific workout recommendation, this is a great thing to add to your weekly routine to help you in staying active.
Going for walks is an easy and free way to get yourself out of your room and seeing what your surroundings have to offer. This doesn’t have to be a speed-walking, exercise clothes type of walk either- walking burns calories at any pace.
If you live in the city, this can be a great way to learn your way around and find new shops and restaurants. It’s extremely gratifying to already know the new place your friend just discovered, and how to get there.
When you don’t have the motivation to subject yourself to whole workout, just start walking, you never know what you’ll find.
5. Take the stairs
This one is another lifestyle suggestion rather than workout idea, but taking the stairs is the perfect way to briefly get your heart rate up without adding any time to your day.
Once you get in the habit of taking the stairs rather than the elevator, you’ll take significantly more steps in a day, and get your heart pumping (if you wear a Fitbit or an Apple watch, they’ll usually count this as a workout). Staying active can come in two minute bursts in the middle of your routine, it doesn’t always have to be a full workout.
Taking the stairs to just the second or third floor has a bigger impact than it would seem, and you won’t have to wait in line to stand in a cramped elevator. If you live or have class all the way up on the fourteenth floor, challenge yourself once or twice a week and take the stairs all the way up.
Do you have a routine that helps you stay active in college? Share your tips in the comments below!
Featured image via @kate_serrao on Instagram
Casey is a junior at Emerson College majoring in screenwriting. She's extremely passionate about petting dogs, writing, and being outside, but if she's not doing one of those things, she's probably napping!