A College Student’s Guide to Fitness

10 tips to make balancing school and working out possible

Writer Trixie Croad

Photos hilo.hawaii.edu website

Being a college student and trying to find time to work out is no easy task. Full time classes and study are enough to deal with, but we also have to fit in all that comes with being adults. Gone are the days when we were in high school and couldn’t wait for independence from our parents. Little did we know, dinner doesn’t actually make itself, the bathroom actually needs cleaning, and electricity doesn’t work unless you pay for it. So with all this on your plate, how are you supposed to find time to fit in regular workouts? Fear not, there is a way! Here are a few handy tips from one college student to another to help you stave off the freshman (or any other year) 15 and keep you feeling good this semester…

1. Visit the SLC

If you’re new to UH Hilo, you may not have had the chance to check out the Student Life Center on campus yet. DO IT! Its one of the newest buildings on campus and has a fully equipped gym with machines and free weights to suit any workout. There is also an olympic-sized pool, a beach volleyball court and two recreational rooms where a weekly array of fitness classes are held, if you prefer someone else to run your workout. The SLC is located at the top of campus near the gym and tennis courts, and is open 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays, open on weekends as well. This makes it super convenient to workout before, between, or after classes. Membership doesn’t cost a dime, because it’s already included in your student fees, so why not utilize what you’re already paying for? For more information about fitness classes and hours, check out the school website or just take a walk to check it out in person.

2. Take a KES activity class

The Kinesiology department offers a number of 1 credit activity classes each semester that are a requirement for KES majors, but can be taken by anyone. The classes vary each semester but some of the activities offered are yoga, table tennis, mountain biking, paddle boarding, surfing, and physical fitness. This way you don’t even have to fit your workout around classes, your workout IS your class! Be sure to get in quick though come registration time, these classes fill up fast and we can see why!

3. Play intramural sports

Intramurals are a great way to combine your workout with your social life. The Recreation Department offers intramural competitions and fun in a number of different sports including volleyball, basketball, soccer, and dodgeball. Usually these events are held late in the day, so that they fit anyone’s class schedule. Come with some friends and enjoy some social sport, no matter your level.

4. Manage your time

You’re not a college student if you haven’t sometimes wished there was three days to a weekend. Responsibilities can pile up when there is seemingly no time for anything, and working out can seem like a far off dream. But there are ways to manage your time that can magically open up an hour here or there. Make sure you use a planner so you can stay ahead of the game, and a to-do list if that helps motivate you (for me there is nothing more satisfying than crossing things off a list). When you study, be sure to eliminate all distractions (a.k.a instagram). You will be amazed at how much you can get done without a phone break every 10 minutes.

5. Walk everywhere

Okay so maybe you have the kind of schedule that time management can’t cure, or maybe you’re just really not into designated workout sessions. There are still ways to slip fitness into your day. One word, WALK. This is especially effective in Hilo, where everything is relatively close. Yes, this does take a little extra time, but if you consider the time you spend driving around a parking lot trying to find a space, and then ending up having to walk half the original distance because your spot is so far away, sometimes the difference in time is much less than you think. Walk to class, or the grocery store, or to work. And if you really are too far away for that, invest in a bicycle for the same effect.

6. Take active study breaks

With this one, you can use study science to justify yourself. A long day of classes and studying can be draining, and your brain can feel like mushy mashed potato at times. There is a lot of research out there, including a study at the University of Georgia, that shows that exercise, even just for 20 minutes, can facilitate information processing and memory functions. Also maintaining a good level of fitness helps you improve your memory in the long term. So if you feel like you’re not getting as much out of your brain as you could be, take a half hour break and go for a run. And when your professor sees you at the gym and you have a paper due that night, just explain that you’re working on your memory function so you can get an A.

7. Explore the Island

This is by far my favourite way to get the juices flowing. The Big Island has so much beauty to explore, everyone should make the effort to get amongst it. From beautiful hikes, to body surfing beaches in Kona, to rock hopping in the rivers or surfing Honoli’i right here in Hilo. there is a plethora of outdoor activities, that are just waiting for you to try them. If you don’t have access to a car, don’t worry! The SLC runs an Outdoor EdVenture program (profiled in this issue) that takes students on weekend trips that are usually free of charge. Getting outside, getting active and connecting with nature can be a great way to recharge after a hard week and get ready for the one ahead.