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16 College Workouts

Your Plans Don't Have to Be Fancy to Be Effective

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Student athlete training, Cambridge, MA
Steve Dunwell/ Photolibrary/ Getty Images

Finding the time to get your homework done can be challenging enough -- but finding time to get in college workouts often seems impossible. Fortunately, however, there are some simple workouts you can do on nearly any campus. By thinking creatively, you can incorporate your schedule into your workouts instead of trying to incorporate your workouts into your schedule.

16 College Workouts

1. Go for a walk. It can be fast; it can be slow; it can be on flat ground; it can be up and down the worst hills on campus. Walking, however, can be a great way to get a workout in during your busy day. Walk the long way to class. Park your car far from where you need to be and walk the rest of the way. Walk up the stairs. Walk to and from all of your classes instead of taking the shuttle. Just walk, walk, walk.

2. Go for a run. If you don't have much time and don't mind a little sweat, going for a quick run can be a great college workout. It can also be a fun way to see parts of your campus that you haven't seen before. If you have an hour between classes, consider going for a run instead of just talking it up with friends in the coffee shop. A 30- or 40-minute run still leaves you time to change, rinse off in the shower, and get to your next class in time.

3. Go for a bike ride. If your campus allows bikes, take advantage of the exercise you can get! Even if you don't have your own bike, see if you can borrow one from a friend or get one super cheap at a store near campus. You can bike to your classes, to your friends' places off campus, to major events, and even to the grocery store when you run out of ramen. Just remember to always wear a helmet so you can protect that college-educated brain of yours.

4. Do yoga with some friends. It's pretty easy to find some friends who also like to do yoga on a campus. Even if you guys aren't pros, you can head somewhere fun -- the top of a hill, behind your sorority house, on a nice lawn in a quiet part of campus -- and do some of your favorite poses. You'll get some exercise, some social time, and a few minutes to center and refocus.

5. Do yoga alone. Finding privacy on campus is a major challenge for most students. Take a moment to do some yoga on your own somewhere outside. You don't even need to dress up in workout clothes to do 10-15 minutes of yoga in the quad or on the hill behind your residence hall. Take some deep breaths and enjoy the quiet while you can!

6. Join a pick-up game. Not knowing anyone with whom you can play is no excuse for not joining a pick-up game! Head to the gym to see what's going on. Chances are someone will need an extra person on their team. You'll end up getting a fun workout in while also meeting some new folks.

7. Join a non-credit exercise class in the campus gym. Most campuses that have gyms also offer workout classes. See what interests you (spinning? pilates? circuit training?) and sign up. Knowing you have to workout at a specific time and place each week can help hold you accountable -- and can help you feel less guilty about not working out at other times.

8. Run the stairs in the stadium. Think of how you feel when you see someone running the steps in one of the campus stadiums on campus: That person is a rock star! Then think about how you'll feel when you're the one who is doing it with ease. Rocky music, of course, can help but isn't required.

9. Lift weights in the weight room. Weight training is a great way to get a college workout in without taking up too much time. If you have an hour to spare between classes, hit the weight room. You'll feel great, get energy for your next class, and tone up.

10. Hit the cardio machines in the gym. Sure, most people cringe a little bit when they think of having to do the elliptical or treadmill in the gym. Instead of viewing this kind of exercise as drudgery, however, view it as your chance to mentally check-out a little. Treat yourself to a jamming playlist, read a gossipy magazine, watch TV episodes (or a movie) on your iPad/cell phone, or do anything else that lets your brain check out from the stress of college -- and the gym. You might be surprised at how quickly the time goes!

11. Sign up for a for-credit exercise class. If you aren't that great at holding yourself accountable when it comes to working out (either on your own or in a just-for-fun class), consider signing up for a for-credit workout class. Chances are, the idea of doing poorly in a gym class will be enough for you to get your tush to class on time, every time -- meaning you'll always get your workouts in.

12. Play baseball/softball. You don't have to be part of a formal team to get a game going. Grab some friends and equipment and just have a fun time playing America's favorite pastime.

13. Play Ultimate Frisbee. You don't need to be on your school's Ultimate Frisbee team in order to play, have a good time, and get in a good workout in the process. If you want to get a quick workout in on, say, a lazy Saturday afternoon, just grab some friends, a Frisbee, and an empty field. You just might end up playing for longer than you expected!

14. Go for a swim. Many students forget that their campus gyms have pools -- and nice ones at that. You can go for a swim by yourself or with friends; you can do lazy laps or really push it; you can do laps or just do something silly with friends, like playing improv water polo or Marco Polo. No matter what you do, though, you'll get your body moving while having fun -- and without being too sweaty when you're done.

15. Workout in your room to a video. YouTube is overflowing with videos you can use to do your own, private workout in your room. You can also download a video of your choice or workout with a system (like a Wii). The best part: You can get your workout in without anyone else seeing.

16. Do some at-home exercises in your room. You may be interested in doing sit-ups ... but not in front of everyone at the gym. Set up your own home exercises (sit-ups, push-ups, tricep dips, etc.) for a quick routine that you can do whenever you have a moment, need an energy rush, or just need to give your brain a break from studying.

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