Getting fit without the gym. Too good to be true?

Dumbbells and treadmills aren’t for everyone. It is important to keep up your daily exercise routine in college, but that doesn’t have to mean pumping iron or running laps. Here are a few simple tricks to tweak your daily activities just a smidge to give yourself a solid workout without feeling like you just spent hours in the gym.

In Your Dorm

1. Ditch your desk chair for a large exercise ball. Balancing on one of these is a great core workout as it makes all those muscles go to work. You’d be sitting anyway, so why not work out while you do it?
2. Watch TV much? Instead of lounging on your bed with a rerun of Family Guy, try your hand at wall-sits or leg-raises. With your mind otherwise occupied, it’s easy to become so absorbed in your workout that it doesn’t even feel like work.
3. Tidy your place. Really! Vacuuming, folding or putting away laundry, ironing, and washing the dishes all burn at least 50 calories. Get your place in shape while doing the same for yourself, and you’ll feel a lot better about both looking in the mirror and looking around your home.
4. While you’re chatting on the phone with mom or your friends, stand up instead of lounging on your bed. Standing and pacing are more easy core and cardio workouts.

On the Way to Class

1. Take the long way. Leave a few minutes earlier than you usually would to get to class or a meeting or activity. Take a few laps around the quad on your way or walk the perimeter of the campus. You’re still getting where you need to go, and you’re perfecting your multitasking skills!
2. Take the stairs. Ditch the elevator – up and down – for a quick leg and cardio workout. It takes so little extra time, especially since it usually takes forever to fight for a spot in the elevator. Bonus: if you’re about to give a presentation or speak in front of the class, you’ll get your blood and adrenaline pumping and your public speaking fears may simmer down.
3. Grab some half- or one-pound weights and store them by your door. Pick them up on your way out to add a little oomph to your walk to class. You don’t have to go nuts with barbells but you’re upping your game and arm strength without feeling much burn at all.

While Out With Friends

1. Pick up a frisbee or a baseball. If you normally gather outside on the quad or the lawn in front of your dorm to chat, maximize your time by keeping each other moving. You can talk while passing a ball back and forth and you’ll work out your arms, back, and legs while having some fun.
2. Try a new hang-out. Spin, a growing chain of ping-pong bars, is a fun place to grab a drink or some food, and you can pay for a half hour of use at one of their many ping-pong tables. Not into table tennis? Try bowling, roller-skating, or laser-tag. (It’s making a comeback!) The key is to just stay active, get your body moving, and have fun.

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