6 Fun & Easy Ways to Exercise in College – No Gym Required

You don’t need a gym to get a great workout.

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Fun and easy ways to exercise in college

It’s a new year and one of the most popular new year’s resolutions on everyone’s list is the popular, “Become healthier and get back into shape.”

Like all resolutions, this common goal is easier said than done, especially for busy students… or lazy ones, myself included.

It’s admirable to resolve to hit the gym five times per week, however, goals like this can be overly-ambitious, especially if you haven’t worked out in a while, and can set you up for failure.

Instead, it’s better to start off by aiming to do something small in which the exercise itself is almost secondary. The most important thing is to use your body in every way you can, if I may quote Baz Luhrmann. This way, you can at least get yourself moving as you work your way up to a fuller workout routine, if that’s where you want to end up.

So, with that spirit in mind, here are some simple, easy, and FUN ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, sans gym membership.

1.  Take a longer route to class, work, the store, etc.

I know this is a tip that we’ve all seen before, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I actually tried this. So for 2011, why not think up a different way to get to class that would incorporate an extra two minutes of walking? While it might seem like you can’t spare two seconds right now, making a little extra time for your health can make a big difference.

Also, I know that many of you are living in states that are absolutely freezing right now, but what harm can an extra block do when you’re already cold anyway? Think of it an excuse to wear your cute winter jacket, scarf, and gloves just a few moments longer before you’re back inside your wonderfully warm apartment.

2.  Try biking for a change.

Although I may be biased towards this form of transportation after spending a semester abroad in Amsterdam, this simpler way of getting around stole my heart (and helped keep me fit) while I was living on gouda and pasta and muttering half-phrases in Dutch.

Of course, biking can be hazardous when you’re living up north due to the elements, but if your campus/town is relatively clear of snow and ice, why not give it a try? Plus, for shorter distance trips that require hauling items back and forth, you can certainly take your bike and save money on public transit or help decrease your carbon footprint.

3.  Run up and down stairs.

You probably think I’m crazy for suggesting this, but I swear to you, this totally works and can be a really intense workout.

Let’s say you’re really stressed out at midnight, the gym is closed, and you need to relieve your tension somehow. Well, there’s always that one stairwell in your dorm or apartment building that never gets any traffic – take a twenty minute break and run up and down those stairs as fast as you can.

You’ll get the intense endorphin rush afterward that will help calm you down. Plus, you don’t have to change into workout attire and trek to the gym in order to do so!

4.  Play video games.

Buy from Amazon.com

I don’t know about you guys but I love playing video games, especially when I’m away at college and want to procrastinate. It’s a really fun way of relieving stress and a great social activity that few truly outgrow. And with the introduction of Nintendo’s famous Switch console, you can have fun playing games while you get in shape.

So bring back your Switch from home or ask one of your friends if you don’t know someone with a Switch at school already, then find yourself a copy of Ring Fit Plus and get going!

Though I don’t advocate playing video games over writing that pesky term paper due tomorrow, having a fun way to relax, get active, and be with friends is one of the best ways to get your body moving in the right direction.

5.  Incorporate weight training while watching your favorite shows.

You’re already sitting down watching a new episode of The Bachelor – why not multitask and turn this into a mini workout session?  Buy a couple free weights and work out your biceps and triceps every Monday at 7/8 pm CST while you find out, once again, that this is the final rose tonight.

6.  Just dance!

Woman dancing

This is by far my favorite fun, stress relieving activity that also ends up becoming a pretty rigorous workout in the process. It’s self-explanatory but you really can never do it enough.

Whether you’re in your undies in your room or taking a break from your study session with your friends in the common room, just put on some Rihanna and boogie the night away!

What do you think?

How do you guys get yourself moving in unconventional, yet convenient ways? Do you guys already do some of these? Which is your favorite?  Which one are you trying first?  Drop me a comment and let me know!

22 thoughts on “6 Fun & Easy Ways to Exercise in College – No Gym Required”

  1. Indeed those are very efficient ways to stay in shape and thankfully quite common in my life. Except the stairs because here, they do get a lot of traffic. And also to take a longer route for me is like to defy gravity – I’m just always late.

    But since I got a nice watch for Christmas (I’m pretty sure it was a hint), one of my resolution was to break that bad habit and I’ll sure as heck will try. And stay in shape while getting everywhere on time, hopefully.

    Thanks for the great article 😉

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  2. It’s also one of my resolutions! I actually went to a gym and probably will go to some active class. By that I mean no machine workout or boring aerobics class, because I tire of that very fast, and I’d rather do something like Pilates or BodyCombat (which is what I do). I also have the Wii Fit Plus if I feel up to it during weekends and earlier in the mornings.

    I don’t agree with the “taking a longer route” mostly because it can be interesting… but I’d rather be sure how long it’ll take me and if it’s worth it. It takes me 15-20 minutes minimum to get to my classes xD. And I can’t ride a bike, so that’s another option discarded.

    Yay for random dancing though!!!

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  3. Good article! But I just wanted to comment on the “what harm can an extra block do?” phrase said in the first tip…. an extra block out in sub-zero windchill like we have here can mean frostbite… and I’m not kidding. lol
    But the running stairs tip is great! I do that for cardio when I’m snowed into my dorm & can’t get out to the gym. 🙂

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  4. I love the idea of using weights while watching tv. Although since my schedule this semester allows to me to get to all of my team’s workouts hopefully that will be enough 🙂

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  5. I think these are awesome ideas – and I look forward to doing the walking one more once THE SNOW MELTS AND IT WARMS UP. I just think you need to remember what season you are in. But besides that I think these are cool – wish I would have gotten the Wii for Christmas like my sister did now… though I want the xBox 360 Kinnect…

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  6. I really liked this article. The weights point specifically. It’s such a simple thing and I never even thought of it. I’d love to do that longer route to college, but as some are already saying, I’m always running out the door at the last minute so I’d just be doubly late! Maybe this term will be different…. 🙂

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  7. I like the dancing suggestion and the steps. Never thought of that and there is a empty staircase where I work. The lupus reference was great. Question what kinda weight’s. Any suggestions ?

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  8. Just Saturday I wrote and scheduled a post for next week on my blog about just dancing as an easy fun exercise… and then today its on CF… great minds think alike. Love these suggestions.

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  9. I’m so happy you added dancing, because that’s what I was just doing to take a break from an assignment. 🙂 Also, a few semesters ago I took a Modern Dance course and learned a great technique for a constant all day work-out. Basically, you just break out of your everyday movements and extend them. For instance, when you’re bending over to get something on a bottom shelf, rather than using your knee for balance, get into a squatting position or do a lunge onto your knee. When getting into bed, do like you used to when you were a kid and jump into bed from farther away.I can guarantee you it’ll be fun. When brushing your teeth, work on different standing yoga poses. Just break out of that idea that the smaller effort you make on these basic actions the better. 🙂

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  10. I always weight train or use my resistance bands whenever I’m watching tv. It’s great multitasking and now I have toner arms. I also never take the elevator since I only live on the third floor. Going up and down the stairs a few times a day really helps too.

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  11. Haha, I love the part about Amsterdam. I study there and although I don’t live there yet I cycle EVERYWHERE.
    You made me curious about your experiences in Amsterdam! And Simone… Leiden is a beautiful city, I can tell you that. 🙂 (but then… no city beats Amsterdam)

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  12. I like the idea of (1), maybe not necessarily taking longer routes, but definitely finding ways to do more walking.
    I live pretty close to my job, about a 30-min walk, and I started taking this walk everyday when I saw that taking the bus in the city was just about the same amount of time if not even longer. So every day, I am walking for at least an hour.

    I have been doing this 5 days a week, for almost 6 months now and have noticed that I have slimmed down a bit. It’s not a dramatic change, but enough for me to notice and motivation for me to continue what I’ve been doing.

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  13. I loved this article, I think there should be a weekly post on CF on simple exercises we can all do without going to the gym. I’m sure it would benefit so many people!
    Personally, I try to walk 30 mins every day, even in the cold! (with lots of warm layers on of course!) I go with my mom and we both keep each other motivated to go no matter what the temperature is like outside (of course, if it’s snowy, slippery, and below freezing we don’t go). I also do 2 very simple yoga steps which help me alot, and above all I try to eat healthy and stay away from junk food! It’s difficult but definitely worth it in the long run.

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  14. I loooove this article!! Losing weight is of course one of my goals too. I already do a few of these things, like dancing around in my room for instance. But the stair one, oh jeez, I can tell you that works. And I don’t do it randomly! I live on the 6th floor, top floor, of my dorms & I almost always try to take the stairs. Over winter break my eating “went to hell.” But before that, when I actually ate healthy & worked out regularly, I still felt like the stairs were making a difference. And let me tell you, I’ve been here for months & those stairs still kick my a** every time!!

    Also, if a student isn’t overloaded with other classes, I suggest signed up for a physical education class. I signed up for Cardio Blast & Dance Cardio this semester, and unlike the recreation center, you HAVE to go to class!! haha.

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  15. Every time I have a book to read in Literature, I read it while walking up and down the stairs in our 8-floor building. That way, I get my studying and workout done at the same time. 🙂

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