College Student Health on a Budget

Introduction

Keeping fit while starting college can be a challenge, especially if you’re on a budget. Luckily, there are many easy and low-cost ways to maintain your physical health while at a new school. Walking to class, investing in portable exercise equipment, and creating fitness groups can be the beginning of your journey to post-high school fitness. Getting involved on campus, eating the right foods, and drinking plenty of water can also help you control your weight and maintain good health. Visit your college’s health center for more information on staying fit while on campus, and ideas on how to keep your body lean and optimally conditioned.

Walk to Class

If your campus is particularly large, a public transit or shuttle system may be available to transport you from class to class. Consider walking or jogging to your classes instead. Not only will you avoid the crowd, you’ll also get your heart pumping. After class, simply walking around campus and taking in the sights can be a great workout for you, and can be an effective fitness option for those who attend campuses in rural settings. Walking just half an hour a day can contribute to weight loss, lower blood pressure, and overall better health. Similarly, always choose to take stairs to your destination instead of elevators and escalators.

Keep Some Cheap Exercise Equipment

If you live in a dorm or any shared living area, finding the space and privacy to work out can be a bit difficult. Thankfully, portable exercise equipment like resistance bands and stability balls mean that you can take these items anywhere and exercise. Portable exercise equipment like this can be the answer for those that are living on campus in an urban area. Keep in mind that you can also exercise in your dorm room without equipment: try jumping jacks, push-ups and squats.

Get Involved Spinning.

Immersing yourself in campus activities can help you get into shape. Joining intramural sports or dance clubs can contribute to keeping you fit while letting you have some fun. You might also meet people who will teach you about other exercise techniques like yoga or pilates. You’re also more likely to meet potential fitness partners in these groups.

Create Your Own Fitness Groups

Though some colleges may offer discounts for local gym memberships, signing up for memberships to a fitness center can hit your wallet hard, if you’re on a budget. You can get the benefits of regular workouts by finding like-minded people and creating a fitness group of your own. You can work out together, share equipment, stay motivated and get new ideas on how to burn calories with fitness partners. Try advertising your group around your dorm, or on bulletin boards around campus. Find cheap ways to exercise, like running, bicycling or using the college’s pool for a lap or two. Consider using your campus’ gym, if it has one. You may be able to use the facilities for free, as long as you present your student I.D. at the door.

Choose the Right Foods

The fast-paced rigors of college can make convenient and greasy foods tempting to eat. Try buying fruits and vegetables that are in season for a healthy way to fill your stomach and get your necessary fruit and vegetable intake on the cheap. Know that you can buy store-brand frozen or canned fruits and vegetables at even lower prices. If you want to try inexpensive sources of protein to keep yourself lean, consider buying beans, eggs and nut products like peanut butter instead of more meat. Keep healthy snacks around like salt-free pretzels, granola bars, yogurt, and string cheeses for tasty ways to curb your appetite.

Drink Water

Drinking adequate amounts of water can promote good health and contribute to better body functioning. It can also help you shed pounds, because water consumption tricks your body into believing that your stomach is full. Drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day will help keep you adequately hydrated after workouts. To save money, consider foregoing your prepackaged water bottles, and buying a water bottle with a built in filter instead.

The Benefits of College Health Centers

College health centers are your go-to source for health and fitness. They can provide you with the advice and information necessary to remain healthy while you’re in your new educational setting. You may have access to dietitians, doctors and other health professionals that will make your road to fitness easier. Visit your college’s health center for dietary advice, health education, vaccinations, and general health issues.

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