When you’re in college, it almost seems like you never have enough time to finish all your homework and studying, let alone find the time to stay active. By changing your habits just a little, you can burn off the recommended number of calories each day without setting foot in a gym. Of course, most colleges have gyms and offer free memberships to students, and paying a visit to your college gym once or twice a week is a very efficient way to get a focused cardiovascular workout.

The Easiest Ways to Stay Active in College

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults between 18 and 64 get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate cardiovascular activity, such as walking briskly or riding a bike. The CDC also recommends adults in this age group perform basic strength-training exercises twice a week. By far, the easiest way to do a full-body strength-training workout is to visit a gym, but if you don’t want to lift weights, you really should at least do the minimum recommended cardiovascular activity to take care of your body.

Any activity that raises your heart rate can be considered cardiovascular activity, and up to a certain point, the more your heart rate raises, the more useful the exercise for your body. However, intense cardio exercise for longer than 90 minutes a day can actually damage your heart in the long run. The most efficient way to squeeze exercise into your schedule is to walk or ride a bike everywhere you need to go. It’s not always possible to make this change, but you can make a compromise if you need to. For example, another efficient way to get exercise at the same time as saving a considerable amount of money is to park your car in a free parking lot close to your school and walk or ride a bike the rest of the way.

Get Exercise Without Wasting Time

You can also count all the miles you walk between classes each week, and because walking is a much less efficient mode of transportation than riding a bike, walking actually burns more calories than biking over the same distance. Excersizing outdoors brings added, spirit-lifting benefits for the outdoor enthusiast.  The important point to remember, however, is that you need to raise your heart rate, which requires walking briskly, biking or climbing stairs. Avoiding elevators and using the stairs instead is another efficient way to substitute cardiovascular activity for wasted time in your schedule.


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If you have half an hour to spare a few times a week, the gym offers the best ways to get exercise. Not only are there a variety of cardio machines from which to choose the one you like best, but gyms usually have group workouts, such as kickboxing or spinning classes, as well as Olympic-size swimming pools and running tracks. Also, there simply is no easier way to work out your arms, shoulders, back, chest, calves, thighs and core than to use the weight machines.

Finding time to exercise while in college is a challenge, especially when your GPA is your most important thought each semester. By making small sacrifices of time and substituting cardiovascular activity for sedentary choices, you can stay active without disrupting your work, school and social schedules.

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