A Complete Workout
Fulfilling your fitness needs
Every well-rounded workout consists of three distinct elements: aerobic exercise, strength training and flexibility training. Many students choose to spend extra time in one particular area, but no workout is complete unless time is spent on each of the three separate aspects.
Any motion that gets your heart pumping and makes you take faster, deeper breaths is considered to be aerobic. Aerobic exercise is commonly referred to as cardio. Jogging and biking are two common forms of aerobic exercise. Running up stairs, jumping jacks and even dancing are other great ways to work out your heart and lungs. Ideally, you’ll spend between one and two hours a week on cardio. Don’t do it all at once. Instead, spread it out over three or four separate workouts.
Many college students enjoy strength training because it tones muscles and gives the body a sleek, sexy look. Lifting weights for as little as 20 minutes twice a week may be enough for you to notice your muscles changing. If you want to gain muscle mass, then devote extra time to strength training. Just be careful; too much weightlifting can damage your muscles. Consult a professional before you begin a strength-training regimen and always allow your body a rest day after a hard strength-training session. It’s during this rest time that muscle mass is built.
Flexibility training is a vital (but often overlooked) component of any complete workout. Always stretch before and after you exercise. Extracurricular classes in yoga, dance and martial arts can be a great way to improve the flexibility of your muscle groups.
Exercise Outside of the Gym
Just because you can’t make it to the gym (not all colleges have an on-site athletics center, and some that do charge a very high price for membership) doesn’t mean that you can’t get a good workout. There are many options available to you. Why not try:
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Going for a brisk walk or a jog.
- Signing up to play an intramural sport such as basketball, soccer or touch football.
- Starting a game of “pickup” sports, such as ultimate frisbee, capture the flag or even a snowball fight.
A Simple Dorm-Room Workout
Even if you’re so bogged down with schoolwork that you can’t manage to leave your dorm room, walk a distance further than the three steps from your bed to your desk or lift anything heavier than your mini-fridge’s door, you can still get a workout. Taking 15 minutes a day to do some rigorous push-ups, sit-ups, lunges and even pull-ups (use your door frame) in your dorm room can have significant health benefits.