Four Ways to Stay Active Despite a Busy Schedule (and without Hitting the Gym)

Finding time to be purposefully active as a full-time student can be challenging. If I do happen to get a sliver of time between class times and cram sessions, all I want to do is plop down and watch Parks and Rec or curl up with a book (my current read is Jane Austen’s Emma). If we’re anything alike, hitting the gym at 7am is the last activity I want to participate in. However, what if I told you there are plenty of ways to stay active without even leaving your room? Here are four tips on how to stay active during your time in school.

1. Stretch upon Waking Up

Grab your morning mug of coffee (or morning beverage choice) and get to stretching! I’m not very athletic, which means I need be intentional to stay active since I don’t have built-in exercise times. Shifting the perspective from the “all-or-nothing” mindset to celebrating small successes is crucial to keeping an active routine. When it comes to being active, you can achieve similar benefits by performing simple, effective stretching sets when you wake up! All it takes is 20-30 minutes of gentle stretching to prime your body and mind for a day of studying and classwork. Listen to gentle, instrumental worship, open a window, or pop on your favorite TV show and stretch right after getting out of bed to start your day off on a high note. 

2. Do a Daily Task 

Look to daily chores as a way to get up and get active! If you need to do laundry, use it as an excuse to walk to the laundry room and then take a short walk outside while you wait for the load to be done. If you live on campus, walk to class instead of driving. It is especially enjoyable if you walk to class with a fellow classmate or hallmate. If you live in the Village (as I do), ask a friend to take a walk with you through the neighborhood. I like to time my walks for after dinner right before sunset because it resets my mind and body for a more productive study session before bed. Young adults get the “wiggles” just as much as little kids, so remember to listen to your body indicating that it needs a refresh after a long day. It’s easy to take a quick task and make it beneficial for your body and mind!

3. Go Kayaking and Paddle Boarding

Living in Virginia Beach provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities! There are many parks surrounding the Regent University campus, and they all offer kayak and paddle boarding rentals at affordable prices. Kayaking and paddle boarding are easy to learn and a great way to see the parks from a new perspective. Often, parks will also offer guided tours during which a professional will guide you along the water and give you basic lessons on how to navigate your watercraft. I love kayaking because it allows for moments of reflection while floating downstream. Rentals are usually per-hour, so the timeframe is perfect for a short outdoor excursion followed by a picnic lunch. Kayaking and paddle boarding are great exercises for your upper body and core and are highly rewarding. 

4. Take a Hike

If you’d rather have your feet firmly planted on solid ground and not floating down a lake, walking along a hiking trail is also a great way to enjoy nature and stay active! Parks offer a wide variety of trails depending on how short, long, easy, or difficult you prefer. Trails are marked and labeled for maximum convenience, and the ranger stations offer supplies (like granola bars) and resources (like plant and animal handbooks) for an exceptionally educational trip. Preparation is minimal, too. Pack some granola bars, a sandwich, and your water bottle for snack time and dress in comfortable shoes and clothing for a day on the trail! 

Bonus Activity: Watch a Sunset

With the sun setting earlier in the day, an evening trip to the beach to watch the sunset is a great stress-relief option to end a long day of studying! Now that it’s off-season, the beaches won’t be as busy and parking will be free (as long as it’s not street parking). Take advantage of living so close to the beach and being surrounded by so many parks.


Isobel Nardone

Isobel Nardone is a department head for The Daily Runner.