The Iglu Guide | Blog

5 ways to sneak some exercise into your day

Adding exercise to your routine

We all know the benefits of exercise and how it can improve learning outcomes – so why does it always feel so hard?

When student life is busy and exercise feels like a special event, it’s way too easy to push it to the bottom of the list.

The idea of sweating it out at a specific time may not be overly appealing, but getting more physical activity into your everyday can actually be easily achieved in other ways.

And with winter fast approaching, there’s never been a better time to get your heartrate up without even realising. Here’s how.

1. Get off the bus early

This is really just another way of telling us to walk whenever possible – a fairly achievable goal for even the most reluctant participant. The biggest benefit of walking is that it’s just such a natural everyday movement, you won’t even realise it’s happening. And even though it might feel a little like cheating – after all, it’s not quite the same as a long meaty run – the stats actually tell a different story. Walking may burn slightly less calories than running, but you’re also less likely to indulge in a big post-exercise treat that undoes all your hard work. Gradually increasing your everyday walking routine avoids that exercise-high boom and bust mentality, but still gives you all the health benefits that physical exercise brings. Bonus!

2. Take the stairs

The instinct to travel faster, quicker, easier is embedded deep down within our DNA, and actively avoiding the moving walkway option by choice is a fairly unusual student activity. There’s always a reason to take the easy pathway. But the stairs are not just there to help you get from A to B; they’re a great calorie-burner, get the blood pumping around your body and as a result deliver numerous health benefits along the way. Think heart health, muscle strength, bone density and joint flexibility – and they’ll even help relieve anxiety and stress. Who knew?

3. Avoid screen time

Sounds pretty obvious, but one of the more concerning after-effects of lockdown is that we are all still on screens for far too long. Turns out, some habits are pretty hard to break. Get tough on yourself and schedule some screen-free time because without that little device, the chances are you’ll be way more inclined to get physical without realising, whether that’s hanging out with friends or simply going outside for a walk. And when you are watching TV, try sitting on the floor instead. Our modern sofa technology is so advanced you’ll be practically asleep, whereas sitting on that hard floor means you’ll be shifting, squirming, and changing position for the entire period.

4. Use your free periods

Take advantage of a break in the day and schedule in some kind of physical activity. It doesn’t have to involve a change of clothes, it could simply be a walk around campus or a meet up with friends in the park. If you’re at a loose end, try plugging into a podcast and exploring the city or jumping on a bike to get around town. Any kind of movement will refresh your mind and sharpen your attention for when you return back to the books.

5. Volunteer for the weekly shop

Resistance work is the heavy lifting of exercise benefits. Quite literally. Discard that online shopping basket because there’s no better way to get this done than at your local supermarket. Load up the shopping bags and balance them out for the walk home, keeping your back straight and your head up. This sneaky workout will not only fill your pantry, it burns fat and works your muscles and core at the very same time.

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