Students living on a limited budget may feel that an expensive gym membership is not an affordable option for them. Fortunately, however, there are lots of cheap, and even free, ways for students to exercise and keep fit without spending much money.
Take Advantage of College Facilities
Colleges are quite aware of the propensity of students to gain a few pounds during their tenure on campus, and most provide discounted opportunities for those who are registered at their schools to get exercise with very little expense. The following opportunities are available at most colleges:
• Bike paths around campus
• Swimming pools
• Tennis courts
• Racket ball facilities
• Weight rooms
All of these can be used to burn extra calories and build muscle mass. Students will find it easier to incorporate exercise activities into their schedules if they use a buddy system and set up specific times to meet to work out with friends. Just roller blading around campus for a few minutes a day can burn significant calories and help to keep the heart in good shape.
Colleges know that students in good health do better academically, and many provide free activities to promote fitness. In order to keep moving, students should keep a close eye on bulletin boards and newsletters for organized exercise activities provided by their college.
Make Every Minute Count
Students who are unable to find large chunks of time to keep in shape can still get the benefit of exercise in smaller increments. The following activities may be performed while waiting in line or by using materials already on hand in a dorm room or apartment building:
• Isometric hand exercises
• Leg lifts with ankle weights
• Body stretching or yoga moves
• Abdominal tightening and relaxing
• Running in place
• Lifting textbooks as weights
• Front, back, and side lunges
Students may also wish to set up exercise video parties several times a week to enjoy exercising with friends. This is an inexpensive way for several friends to visit and keep in shape at the same time.
Join the Competitive Spirit
Many colleges also offer inter mural sports. These teams are always happy to have new members so students should check out the rosters for activities that they might enjoy. Some colleges offer basketball, softball, tennis, bowling, and volleyball. Students might also be able to form dance groups so that friends can spend an evening of entertainment as well as exercise.
Take Advantage of Local Opportunities
Students should also check the exercise options offered by local churches and civic groups near the college. Most of these are either free or require a very nominal fee. Some of the choices that might be offered by these organizations include the following:
• Belly Dancing
• Square Dancing
• Kick Boxing
Make the Most of Chores
Exercise does not have to be planned in order to do the body any good. Take every opportunity to tone the body. This may mean taking the stairs to a class on the top floor of the building or parking in the space that is most distant from a destination so that a good walk is in order. Lifting laundry baskets filled with heavy clothing or bags of groceries up and down while transporting them to their destination is also a good muscle building activity.
Keeping fit does not have to mean spending vast sums of money on expensive gym subscriptions or exercise equipment. Students can find numerous ways to incorporate exercise into their daily routines and can have fun socializing in the process.
Author Bio: Jennifer Lewis enjoys finding fun ways to keep fit without spending much money. She writes for a site that helps female students find financial aid for college, such as scholarships for women in chemistry.