Are you an over-worked, under-appreciated college or graduate student with zero free time? It’s a small consolation to know that you are not alone. Plenty of busy adults who are in school, many holding down jobs at the same time, have virtually no time to take care of themselves as they should. Typical days consist of running from the bed to the shower, grabbing a quick breakfast, rushing to school, doing homework sometime between classes, taking a short lunch, heading to more classes, driving to work, going home, and eating a meal before collapsing into bed and starting the whole process over the following day.
It’s not a healthy way to live, but it’s the reality for far too many ambitious, hard-working folks in college honors classes, graduate studies courses, MBA programs, and, medical schools. Is there a way to somehow work fitness into the scheme of things without sacrificing grades? There is. If you want to work a workout into your daily routine but just can’t figure out how to do the math when it comes to scheduling, here are six worthwhile, realistic ways to beat the system and make sure that you are able to keep your body in top shape while honing all those mental skills in the classroom.
Do Incremental Workouts
Don’t feel the need to do a full workout each time you want to exercise. If you plan your day right, you’ll have a few longer-than-average workouts each week, but what about other days when time is short? The answer is to think in five-minute pieces of time. That way, you’ll be able to fit several mini-workouts into a typical day, even if you’re an MBA student in the middle of a major project. Here’s a workable strategy which is to use stairs whenever possible and ride a bicycle to get to and from classes and for errands. Many people have discovered the exercise as soon as you arrive home secret. If you do it, you won’t be at risk of letting fatigue catch up with you before you sit down for your evening meal. So, avoid elevators, use your bike as often as possible, and do a short workout the minute you arrive home from class.
Get a Student Loan
What does this suggestion have to do with fitness? Plenty. If you are a busy med student, for example, and apply for private student loans from Earnest to cover the total cost of tuition and related expenses during medical school, you won’t have to worry about holding down a part-time job to round out your monthly budget. Working during med school is a recipe for disaster. Just ask anyone who has ever tried it. Opting for a private loan, particularly if you are headed to medical school, is a smart move. Not only will you have access to low interest rates and reasonable terms, but you’ll likely have a commonsense repayment period. That’s good news for anyone undergoing the rigors of med school, which is notorious for long days, longer nights, and rare breaks. Not having to work during your academic coursework is one of the best ways to relive the pressure and focus on earning good grades.
The Plan is Supreme
The old real estate industry saying about location being the three most important features of a property is instructive. But when it comes to exercise, the factors could mean extreme planning. The point is to map out your days into 10-minute increments. If you are a busy student in a demanding program, you probably already do this kind of granular analysis of your time. Now, add a few 20 or and 30-minute workouts into your week at places where you have some free time. It’s much easier to make this system work if you actually commit the plan to writing. Consider putting brief walks, runs, or bike riding sessions into the schedule as soon as you wake up, or late in the evening when you are finished studying. Everyone’s schedule is different, but most students can find gaps in their days where it’s simple enough to get in some physical fitness training.
Food is Fitness
With all the emphasis on exercise, it’s easy to forget that food is a key component of physical health. We can work out every day, but if all our meals consist of fast-food and junk food, we’re working against ourselves. Consider making time to plan meals as carefully as you plan your exercise sessions and your study time. If you aren’t up on basic nutritional principles, ask someone in your school’s science department for basic tips, or consult with the school nurse. These folks can help you learn to plan simple, nutritious, balanced meals no matter how busy you are.
Get an Exercise Partner
It’s easier to stick to any kind of routine if you have someone to share activities with. That’s why the concept of having an exercise buddy makes perfect sense. You need not include this person in all your workouts. That would be impossible. But think along the lines of doing three or four joint workout sessions each week, like nightly bike rides, morning jogs, weekend swims, or other fitness-focused activities that you can look forward to a few times each week. You will probably discover that the camaraderie is a hidden benefit of this principle that does a lot for your mental and emotional fitness as well as your body.
Flexibility Makes It All Work
When you’re living in a world of books, tests, labs, projects, grades, notes, lectures, group presentations, and other demanding components that make up the standard college or graduate degree, you need to be flexible when it comes to working out. If an important meeting with an instructor causes you to miss a jog or weight-training session, so be it. Life will go on and you’ll be able to meet next week’s fitness goals. Don’t let schedule changes and the like get you down. Keep a positive attitude and allow yourself the freedom to amend and adapt your workout schedule when necessary.