Early morning classes, long tiresome days, and high stress: the typical college student’s daily struggles. Whether or not you are a college student, we all encounter points in our lives where we find ourselves dealing with demanding schedules that can sometimes make us feel overwhelmed and strained. During these times, not only do we cater to our external environment, but we also place less emphasis on ourselves and our own physical health, mental health, and fitness goals.

Everyone has different ways to de-stress, and even if exercise may not be your ultimate favorite, I encourage you to incorporate at least one type of physical activity into your daily life. Exercise is not only great for your physical health, but it has proven to help with your overall mental health, mood, and brain function. 

1. Having "No Time" Is Not A Valid Excuse

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Jocelyn Hsu

Having early morning 8 am lectures, jam-packed schedules until 6:30 pm, and late night club meetings is not only draining, but it makes it feel nearly impossible to find the time, energy, and motivation to workout. Nevertheless, there are 24 hours in a day, and if you are committed to sticking to those fitness goals of hitting the gym for a quick lift or cardio session, it is possible to fit in a small chunk of time to move your body and get those endorphins flowing. 

When I know I’m going to have a long day ahead of me but have some extra time in the mornings, I like to wake up extra early to hit the gym and get my workout out of the way for the rest of the day. Of course, not everyone is a morning person, but getting an early morning workout in is a great way to wake yourself up in the morning, feel extra energized, and gain an extra sense of productivity for the day. Conversely, if my schedule is busier in the mornings and calmer in the afternoons and evenings, I try to fit in a workout later in the day. 

2. Find Something You Enjoy

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Denise Uy

Exercise often sounds unappealing to some people because it isn't enjoyable to them, but we each have the power to make things enjoyable and fun for ourselves, and I'm sure you can find something that suits your tastes. From weight lifting, to running on the treadmill, to hot yoga, there are a plethora of ways to get your fitness in for the day. Some of my favorite things to do are taking free classes at the gym or trying out fitness classes around the city.

Youtubers and Instagrammers like Whitney Simmons, Blogilates, Kiah McSwain, and Randi Kennedy post great workouts that you can do at the gym or at home, so whether you have 10 minutes or one hour in a day, it is always possible to fit in a workout for the day. 

3. Hold Yourself Accountable

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When we project our goals, thoughts, and ideas onto things that are tangible and visible, it not only makes us more motivated to accomplish our intentions, but it also internally unloads the mental stress in our brains. One of my favorite ways to make fitness a priority amidst my busy schedule is to utilize Google Sheets to plan out which days I will workout and establish a clear workout for each day that I choose to hit the gym. Since I prefer to do a combination of both cardio and strength training for my workouts, I'll alternate between upper and lower body workout days throughout the week and set aside 15 minutes of cardio as a warm-up before each workout. In doing so, I not only save myself a huge chunk of time, but I also achieve an efficient workout that aligns with my fitness goals of staying physically healthy. Setting aside the time to plan out your weekly workouts is not only motivating but also satisfying when you manage to hit the gym each time you plan on doing so. 

Of course, with anything related to fitness or diet, keeping things to a healthy moderation is key to living a healthy lifestyle and establishing a positive relationship with your body, food, and exercise. It is always important to do things for yourself and for your body, rather than doing things according to society’s dictations and expectations. No matter how stressed or how hectic life gets, I hope you find some time for yourself and offer your body the care it deserves—whether that be through exercise, spending time with loved ones, or engaging in your favorite hobbies.