Two papers, a presentation, and a quiz next Wednesday? I thought this was ‘syllabus week!’ With the constant balance of class, studying and socializing, it may seem like there is absolutely no time left in the day to make it to the gym, let alone staying long enough to work up the sweat to burn off all the chicken nuggets you just inhaled at the dining hall. You decide to skip today’s workout. After all, the gym will still be there next week, right?
You are not the only person who faces this dilemma. In fact, according to the University of Pittsburgh’s Student Health Service, only 39 percent (of 302 surveyed students) exercised three or more times per week as of January, 2014. What you may not know, though, is that you can stay healthy and fit every day without even leaving your residence hall. That’s right! All you need is a chair and a sturdy wall; nothing else. If you can take a break from your homework for 15 minutes, you can complete a full-body workout and defeat the dreaded freshman 15.
WARM-UP: Let’s begin with some warm-up cardio. Three consecutive minutes of running in place, jumping jacks or jump roping will get your heart pumping and prepare your body for elevated effectiveness of your dorm room workout. After you get warmed up, get ready to rumble!
ARMS: Although lifting your textbooks from your backpack to your desk can be a feat in itself, we can do a little more each day to tone those biceps. Did you know that if you create enough pressure on your muscles by pushing against a wall, you have already set up a challenging strength workout? The standing wall push-up is an easy yet effective way to tone arms and shoulders, keeping that upper body looking trim. Here’s how to do it:
Standing Wall Push-Up
- Stand arm’s length from a sturdy wall and extend arms, placing your palms flat on the wall and making a 90 degree angle at your shoulders.
- In a single movement, press body toward the wall and then push back to the first position (as if doing a regular push-up.)
- Keep your elbows close to your sides throughout the entire exercise. Stay strong!
- Try starting with a single set of 10 and work your way up.
- Make it harder: rotate raising each leg during every push-up
Luckily, each dormitory at the University of Rhode Island comes equipped with a desk and chair for each student in the room. And not only can you sit on your chair, but you can do another awesome arm workout using it—triceps dips!
Triceps Chair Dips
- Sit on the edge of a chair and place your palms on the front edge of the chair. Hold on tight!
- Putting support pressure on your hands, lift your bum off Â and in front of the chair. This is the starting position. Your feet should also be stable and bent in a 90 degree angle.
- Bend elbows and lower body toward the floor, and then push back up. Repeat this process three times in sets of 10, 12, and 15.
BACK: The back is an important part of the body that we must not forget to work during exercise. The spine alone is bordered by several different groups of muscles that we use on a daily basis. Other back muscles are associated with out head, neck and overall movement of our entire body. Low intensity back bows are the perfect dorm room fix to work your middle and lower back as well as your shoulders.
- Start laying flat on your stomach with your arms and legs outstretched in a straight line. Use the free floor space in your room for this exercise.
- Keep your hands and feet together/touching
- In one motion, lift your arms and legs off of the ground (about 6 inches) and stretch them over to the right side of your body. You should create a sort of crescent-moon shape from the tip of your toes to the top of your fingers. Set your arms and legs back on the ground (on the right side) and hold that stretch for about 5 seconds.
- Now lift arms and legs back up to 6 inches and cross them both over to your left side. Set down, and hold the stretch on this side for 5 seconds.
- Continue this back and forth motion for two minutes for a great, low intensity back workout.
- Start on all fours, with your back as flat as a table top, hands directly under your shoulders, and knees directly under your hips.
- Keeping your right knee at a 90 degree angle, raise your leg behind you until your thigh is aligned straight with your back.
- In this position, pulse you right leg toward the ceiling while squeezing your glutes. Remember to keep your foot flexed!
- Return to the starting position. Repeat this for 20 reps on each leg; aiming to pulse higher each and every time
Curtsey Lunge Bounces
- Stand up straight with your hands on your hips
- Take a big step diagonally backward with your left foot so that it is crosses behind your right.
- Bend knees (like a curtsy) until your right knew makes a 90 degree angle at the floor.
- Find your balance and bounce here for one straight minute; aiming to bounce lower to the ground each time.
- Return to starting position and repeat with right foot—stepping backward and crossing right leg behind left. This workout targets outside glute and hip muscles.
LEGS:Â Did you ever imagine that you could sculpt your leg muscles without even getting out of the top bunk? Believe it or not, there are several workouts you can complete without even leaving bed. This is the perfect solution for even the laziest of the lazy college students.
Side Single Leg Lifts
- Start by laying on your right side, legs out straight and stacked on top of each other. Rest your head on your hand (bending your arm at the elbow) for support.
- Slowly lift your right leg to a 90 degree angle above your hip, and then lower it back to starting position with control.
- Repeat for 25 reps and then turn over to do 25 more reps with your left leg. Soon enough, you will have thighs of steel!
Disclaimer: it goes without saying that if you do not have enough room to lift your leg to a 90 degree angle without hitting the ceiling, you actually WILL have to get out of bed to complete this exercise (sorry!)
- Lying in bed, kick your feet/legs vigorously as you would when swimming. Repeat this for as long as you can; until you simply can’t bare one more.
- This exercise does not sound like much, but doing swim kicks for 3 minutes seriously works the hamstrings and glutes.
For busy college students, this simple workout is perfect to complete before class, after class, and any time you can find in between! It is important, too, to keep in mind that healthy and balanced diet choices also play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout the semester. Color your plate while at the dining hall and take advantage of the fresh, local produce available in both Main Fare and Butterfield every day.
When college students don’t get enough exercise or maintain a balanced diet, it’s impossible for them to feel as focused and energized as they should. Moderate exercise each day is essential for regulating stress levels, sleep patterns, and overall mood. The hardest part is mustering up the willpower to get started. One you have conquered that, you have already conquered half of the battle.
Next time you turn on MTV after class, consider completing one exercise per commercial break. In no time, you will be moving and grooving all the way through Teen Mom 2.