Living on a student budget is no reason to forego your health and fitness level. Finding free fitness options can actually be a great way to create lifelong healthy habits, make new friends and relieve the regular stress associated with college life.
When beginning a new fitness routine, remember that you want something convenient and fun. If something isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to move on to the next option.
Hit the local library
Check your college library for books and DVDs with fitness routines; and if you can’t find any you like, head to a nearby community library where they’re likely to have a good selection. The best part about using the library is that you can regularly change up your routine. You can make copies of routines you find in books and create a binder, alternating routines every few weeks. With DVDs, you can select a new one every week.
Head for the pavement
Running outside will always be free. Get a group of friends together and consider starting a running group so everyone stays motivated. You can run through your campus or find a local trail. Keep things interesting by selecting a new path or location each week. If you live by hills or mountains, try challenging yourself with uphill runs to mix things up.
Find your faves on YouTube
100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute! Using search terms like “dorm room workout” or “body weight exercises,” you’ll find some great routines that can be done in the comfort of your dorm room or outside. Subscribe to your favorite channels and keep your eyes peeled for fresh content. You could even consider making your own, which may increase your motivation and keep you excited about working out.
Find free workout websites
Similar to YouTube, there are now several fitness sites with videos that are completely free. The great thing about these is that you don’t have to sift through unrelated videos to get to what you want. If you enjoy yoga, try DoYogaWithMe.com. If you want to try out some new body weight exercise routines or interval training, try FitnessBlender.com. ToneItUp.com is geared towards women and provides new videos regularly as well.
There’s an app for that
The number of fitness apps grows every single day. If you have a smart phone, you can take advantage of free apps that provide interval timers, workouts, workout tracking and more. Checkout Workout Trainer, Nike Training Club and Daily Workouts Free to start. Or, just search keywords like “fitness,” “workout” and “exercise” to get started finding your own. Create a section on your phone just for these apps and try to rotate between them each time you exercise.
Start your own team or league
Many colleges have intramural sports teams but sometimes it costs to play. Start your own league or team with a group of friends. If you all work together, you can create flyers to hang on boards around campus, create a Facebook group, or even a free WordPress site to spread the word and keep track of interest.
Try it out
Many gyms and studios with fitness classes will let you come for one week free, or let you try one class for free. You may only get one week or one day, but depending on how many gyms and studios there are around you, it could take a while to use up all your freebies. This is also a great opportunity to figure out what you really like. Maybe a yoga class really appeals to you, or maybe you enjoy more dance or weight training. Once you figure out what kind of classes you like use that knowledge to find other free resources online or at the library as mentioned earlier.
If you have a little extra to spend
If you’re willing to spend a small amount of money, sign up with sites like GroupOn and Living Social which offer discounted passes to local studios. You can also purchase used fitness DVD’s online at Amazon and sell them back when you’re ready to try something new. Last but not least, ask if your local rock climbing gym, yoga studio or golfing green offers student discounts.
There are plenty of opportunities for you to stay fit and have fun on a student budget. The most important thing is to do things you enjoy. Don’t be afraid to try new things until you find your niche.