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When you’re busy balancing college life, your body often pays the price. Here are some simple fitness tips to keep your weight in check.
This time of the year, when you’re heading off to college for the first time or returning after the summer break, it can be challenging if you’re trying to maintain or lose weight. The “freshman 15” weight gain becomes a reality for many new college students, and a return to a standard college diet of fast food becomes a reality for those coming back. The only way to avoid weight gain is to find ways to stay active, reduce stress and stay on track with a healthy eating plan. Here are some tips to help you squeeze in daily activity and avoid gaining weight.
Walking can help you burn calories, improve muscle tone and reduce stress. Using a simple pedometer that clips to your waistband is a great way to monitor your daily walking activity. A healthy goal to try and reach is 10,000 steps per day.
As you add regular walks to your day, slowly increase your duration until 30 minutes feels comfortable. Then increase your intensity level by walking faster. Start including varied terrain, such as hills, and then progress to a jogging or running pace.
Climbing stairs is great for improving your cardiovascular fitness level. Plus, it works all of the muscles in the back of the legs and butt. If you can’t find a good set of stairs to climb, do step-ups instead. Aim to do the equivalent of 50 stairs per day.
It’s much easier to complete a training program when you have a partner who is doing it with you. Try to convince a friend or family member to exercise with you during your lunch break or any free time you may have between classes. It’s a great way to catch up while doing your body some good.
Many colleges have recreational sports leagues and offer discounted gym memberships or fitness classes. Also, look online for a program that allows you to try out lots of local fitness classes at a discounted price.
Perform body weight resistance exercises, such as simple squats, lunges and push-ups in your dorm or wherever you live. When you’re ready, you can progress to using weights. If you know how to do the basics, any time you have just a few minutes to spare you can maximize your time by getting stronger with simple exercises. There are lots of exercise routines that you can do for free online when you have a little more time to spend.
Don’t fall into the bad habit of grabbing unhealthy snacks on the go. Instead, be prepared and carry healthy treats in your bag. Try to find snacks that are high in protein, as they will help you to stay fuller for longer. Avoid empty calories and opt for nutrient-dense foods that are essential when you’re stressed and busy.
When your body is well hydrated, you may hold on to less water weight. I also find that when I’m drinking fluids throughout the day, I’m less likely to snack. Quite often we mistake thirst with hunger. Aim to drink a minimum of 8-10 glasses per day and even more if it’s hot or you’re exercising.
If you stick to a healthy routine and squeeze in my tips, you’ll sail through the busy school season with your body composition intact.
Samantha Clayton is responsible for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Independent Herbalife Members and employees. Through in-person training sessions, educational tools and materials, and her blog (www.discovergoodfitness.com), she ensures that the important role of exercise as part of a healthy, active life is understood by all. She also helps create, organize and promote employee fitness programs and activities as an integral part of the company’s corporate wellness program.
A native of Liverpool, England, Samantha initially worked as a consultant for Herbalife for two years and led the Herbalife24-Fit program, the company’s first comprehensive fitness training program and DVD series.
Before joining the corporate ranks, Samantha was a professional athlete. She represented Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. Prior to the Olympics, she won two medals in the Olympic AAA trials – a silver medal for the 200m and a bronze for the 100m – as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay during the European Junior Championships in 1997. Her personal records include 11.40 seconds in the 100m and 23.02 seconds in the 200m.
Samantha is a personal trainer and group exercise coach through the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA) and International Sport Science Association (ISSA).