Disclaimer: this article is not for the BUCS athletes among you. I am not a professional athlete, and have only recently embarked on a ‘fitness journey’. However, after years of not eating properly and doing sporadic workouts I didn’t enjoy, I believe I have cracked the code to maintaining an active lifestyle alongside university.
Find what works for you
Whether you’re in the 1st for Rugby, a keen yogi, or just enjoy going to the gym, I have found the key to maintaining an active lifestyle alongside my studies is solely partaking in exercise I find enjoyable. I hate to sound like my mother, but running has given me a space to process my emotions and has helped immensely with my mental health. In turn, I have performed better in my degree in recent months. To me, exercising alongside my degree has become non-negotiable.
I began running during my study abroad placement in Amsterdam as a way to explore the city. I started by using the ‘Couch to 5k’ app, which is free and offers an extremely manageable training plan. Since I started running in March, I have raced 5k’s, a 10k, and am running my first half-marathon this weekend.
During this time, I have had bad days, bad weeks, and bad months. I have had two injuries, broken down in tears while running, and had to cut short many sessions. To not get discouraged, I often think back to when I first started and wasn’t able to run a kilometre without stopping. Any progress is good progress, and should be celebrated.
Running has given me a space to process my emotions and has helped immensely with my mental health
Find a community
In Exeter, I have been enjoying running with Gravitate, who offer a Sunday run club, commencing at the Sunset Society at the civilised hour of 11am. Exeter offers a society for absolutely everything, so whatever your preferred sport is, there is a community here waiting for you. If joining an AU society is too intimidating, I would suggest joining an intermural team for something more light-hearted.
Good food = good vibes
In order to balance exercise and university, you need to be feeding yourself properly. I try and aim to have a source of protein, carbs and fruit or vegetables in every meal, although this can be challenging. Remember, it is always better to eat something rather than nothing, and the occasional pot noodle for dinner is absolutely fine.