By The TFH Peer Health Educator Team
For many students, working out is a prime way to deal with stress from the week. However, as the semester becomes busier, a lot of students will feel that they no longer have the time to go work out. Losing this coping mechanism can lead to rough consequences, including higher levels of anxiety and a harder time sleeping at night. While there should be absolutely no pressure to make it to the gym, for some students it is good for their mental health to be able to exercise a few times a week. In fact, recent research has shown that just 20 minutes of vigorous exercise, or 30 minutes of moderate exercise, can be incredibly beneficial. If you are someone that benefits from an exercise routine, but feel that you do not have the time to do so, here are some ideas for quick ways to work out:
Are you someone that loves the endorphin rush from running and biking? This interval is a prime way to mix it up. First you must pick two exercises-- in the past, I’ve had good luck with running and biking. On your first exercises, start out going at a moderate intensity workout (i.e. if running, a sustainable jog) for four minutes, and sprint (or do something that would be difficult to do for more than a minute) for the fifth minute. Repeat this three times for a total of 15 minutes, then switch to a different exercise and repeat the cycle. Need a low-impact version? Try the elliptical and arm bike. Want to do it outside? Skipping and high knees does the trick. Can’t even spare 30 minutes? Totally fine, just don’t do the second half.
Body weight circuit
increments of 5 minutes
If you prefer a mix of strength training, an easy way to do a quick workout is to pick your favorite exercises and create a circuit. For example, one could do burpees, squats, lunges, Russian twists, and planks. Perform each move for one minute, and then go immediately to the next exercise. At the end of each circuit, take a 30 second break and then repeat. Do this as many times as you care to. This is perfect for those dealing with an injury, as it can be customized to your ability. Additionally, it’s easy to mix this one up to make it more interesting. On the first circuit one might do a regular plank, but on the next they could do side planks. If you feel like you don’t even have time to walk to the gym, this is a prime one for the dorm room.
One little-known piece of information about strength machine set-ups is that they are often arranged in a circuit. In Tiernan Field Hoise, in the room with the squat bar that has doors to the balcony, the machines are set-up in order of the muscle groups. Start with whichever machine you desire, and do 12-15 reps of the exercise. Then, transition to the next machine. Complete as many rounds throughout the room as you have time for. Make sure you warm up first though, either hop on the bike for 5-10 minutes before you start or high-knees it from your dorm to the field house. If you can’t perform all of the exercises, that’s totally fine-- just skip that strength machine and head to the next one.
For more ideas, head to Tiernan to see posters of exercise circuits and recommended workout apps. As always, if you find that working out is not something that’s right for you, make sure to listen to your body. The personal trainer, assistant director of Health and Wellness, and Peer Health Educators are all available for consultation, as well. Best of luck with the semester!