by Sara Goldman
Photography courtesy of Noor Nasser
Exercise has many benefits for mental and physical health. It helps control weight and maintain energy levels, and it is essential in maintaining mental health. According to the National Institutes of Health, exercise has been proven to reduce depression, anxiety and improve self-esteem. Thirty minutes of moderate intensity exercise, like brisk walking, is enough to reap these mental health benefits.
When beginning a fitness routine, it’s important to try to find one that you enjoy and start slow. Those who can do the Stairmaster for 50-plus minutes at the gym all started somewhere! Additionally, a recent Dutch study found that people who were mindful during their exercise regime, meaning they fully immersed themselves in their workout, were more likely to enjoy it and to stick with the routine.
Kalliopi-Eleni Tsafou, a Marie Curie Research Fellow at Utrecht University who led the study said, “The message is that mindfulness may amplify satisfaction, because one is satisfied when positive experiences with physical activity become prominent,” So, finding a workout that you love will ensure that you continue with it, whether its weight-lifting, Soul-Cycle, running or the Stairmaster.
With busy schedules, it can be difficult to maintain an exercise routine in college. But, it is very easy to make the time in your schedule to set aside to workout. (i.e. binge watching “The Office” less is a great way to free up some time!) Making exercise a top priority ensures that it will be maintained throughout a busy semester. Look at your schedule and decide what time will work best to workout that day: whether it’s in the morning, between classes or after class. Also, try out different times of the day to workout, you may be surprised to find out that you love going to the gym at 6 a.m. before class or that working out before studying helps you work more effectively!
Yet, sometimes it is really hard to be motivated to go the gym regularly. While maintaining a fitness routine, it’s important to remember that no one feels motivated to workout all the time. There are days when even the most dedicated fitness lovers have absolutely no interest in going to the gym. Sometimes, you just need to go even when you don’t want to—which is the best and most challenging way to maintain your fitness routine. As the Nike slogan goes, “just do it” and you’ll be glad you did. But, when you’re in a workout slump, a great motivational tool is having fun workout outfits to help motivate you to workout. Everyone loves going to the gym more if they’re working out in a gym outfit they love! A new pair of leggings, a super fun colorful tank or a new scrunchie or headband will motivate you to go to the gym and bust a sweat.
Lastly, a great workout playlist is super motivating to workout to—ask around to see what your friends like to workout to, or browse around on Spotify.
Maintaining a workout routine in college can be challenging, but with the right attitude and planning, it can be done!