Life can get pretty hectic. There are lectures, labs, a part-time job, time for friends and don’t forget about having to dedicate 1,403 hours a week toward studying. With so much going on, finding time to be active may seem like an impossible task. According to American Heart Association, you need to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week. While that may seem like a lot, it breaks down to about 30 minutes a day five days a week. You can also break up the 30-minute session into three 10-minute bouts throughout the day and still experience the same health benefits!
It's important to sneak in these 30 minutes where you can, because it is incredibly beneficial for your mental and physical health. Engaging in regular physical activity will:
- Increase your energy
- Improve your sleep
- Decrease stress and anxiety
- Improve your overall mood
- Improve your cognitive function
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Reduce risk of heart disease and stroke
- Reduce risk of Type II Diabetes
Here are some tips to help you be active for at least 30 minutes a day:
As students you schedule your classes, work, internship, time to study, and social activities, so why not schedule time to move your body as well? If you schedule time to be active, it will become part of your routine. You can use a planner, a digital calendar or set reminders on your phone. Do what works best for you! It’s fun to plan your activity ahead of time and look forward to moving your body—you are committing to making your health and well-being a priority.
Being active can be more fun with a friend, so ask a friend to join you next time you schedule time to move your body. If you know someone else is being active with you, you are more likely to show up and give it your all. Running with a friend can be a time to catch up while fitting in your daily physical activity. Get friends together on a weekend afternoon to play soccer, go bowling, bike around Davis or play Ultimate Frisbee. Schedule a coffee date with a friend, take it to go and walk together. Get together and get moving!
Think outside the gym. Physical activity can be done anywhere! Students can easily workout at home or outside with bodyweight exercises. If you want to use weights but don’t have any, try using backpacks filled with textbooks, jugs of water and other heavy items to strengthen your muscles. Simple, short circuits are a great way to get in your 30 minutes without leaving the house, especially if time is an issue.
Physical activity should be fun and enjoyable. You are more likely to stay active throughout your lifespan if you enjoy what you do. If you aren’t a fan of spinning, then don’t force yourself to go to a spin class. There are so many other options! Ask yourself a simple question, “What type of activity would I enjoy doing and look forward to?” If that’s dancing your heart out, then do that. In fact, Health Education and Promotion has some great tips on how to get started with dance. Remember to focus on how physical activity makes you feel and what works best for you.
If scheduling a time for physical activity doesn’t work for you, then think of ways you can stay active all day long. Can you walk between classes or bike to campus? If you take the bus, can you get off one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way? If you are cooking dinner and waiting for your veggies to steam, can you do some exercises in the kitchen? Simply ask yourself, what can I do to move more throughout the day? It’s the little things we do on a consistent basis that matter.
Reserve time to spend by yourself and use it as scheduled “me time.” We all need daily time to relax and regroup. Although this may not seem like a good use of time given all the obligations you have as a student, recovery is just as important as staying active. Even taking 10 minutes to focus on a mindful breathing technique can slow your heart rate, reduce your blood pressure and relieve stress.
An evening or morning yoga class is an excellent way to destress while also practicing mindful body awareness. Yoga allows you to increase your flexibility and is a great way to recover from more vigorous activity to help prevent injuries. Check out our Get Started with Yoga page for more information about different types of yoga, what to wear and videos to follow at home.
We asked a group of UC Davis students how they incorporate movement into their day. Check out some of their responses below—maybe one of them will work for you!
- “I stay active by completing home workouts while catching up on my TV shows.”
- “When I see a cool workout on Instagram I’ll try it out at the gym and if I like it I make it my go-to routine several times a week. Then I don’t have to think too much about it!”
- “I set a goal to go to the gym for 1 hour, twice a week!”
- “I like to bike to campus to stay active throughout my week. It’s a great way to wake up in the morning and stay active after long periods of sitting!”
- “I love to go to barre classes at the ARC to relieve stress.”
- “Dance breaks as study breaks + biking everywhere.”
- “If my schedule allows me, I will walk to school in the morning and walk back to my apartment when I’m finished with work, which usually gets me about 10,000 steps at the end of the day.”
- “I track my steps daily to motivate me to move more throughout the day”
- “I do a 10-minute yoga video every morning”
- “I like taking group exercise classes at the ARC with friends.”
For more information about this campaign or if you’re interested in using the campaign materials, please contact Shantille Connolly at firstname.lastname@example.org.