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Peer Advice: How to Stay Physically Active as a Graduate Student

Two SPAS students in front of Gold's Gym

If you are reading this article, then kudos to you!

Prioritizing physical activity during a time in your life when your world is dominated by the stressors of schoolwork is commemorable! As a previous kinesiology major, I would love to dive into the weeds on how physical activity, or lack thereof, impacts your current and future health. But, considering you are entering the healthcare field, I am sure you already know much of this information! So, without further ado, let me share some tips on how to stay physically active as a graduate student:

  1. Find an accountability buddy

I wish I could scream this from a mountain top. Fitness friends are not only great companionship throughout your choice of physical activity but sometimes it may be the only reason you crawl out of bed and make it to the gym. Building a community that promotes physical activity is one of the most effective ways to hold yourself and others accountable in prioritizing fitness! Some examples of establishing “an accountability buddy” include: coordinating workouts at the same gym with a friend who has similar fitness goals, inviting friends on walks/hikes/group classes, utilizing social media/fitness tracking apps/smart watches to challenge and support each other, and the list goes on!

  1. Do something that is fun for YOU

It’s important to always do something that you genuinely enjoy or have a desire to continue.

So, staying active can mean sticking to a weight lifting regime, running outside, bouldering, surfing, mountain biking, yoga, etc. The more that you look forward to your activity, the more likely you will follow through with your plans!

  1. Be open to change

During your time as a graduate student, you will endure a sizable amount of change. From adjusting to a variety of schedules to taking on a number of assignments, you may find it challenging to establish any sort of consistent schedule. That being said, be open to change! If you have a heavy day of long lectures, take a rest day. If you have a late start to your morning, take advantage of an early morning workout. If you find yourself sitting all day, take a walk and listen to a podcast. Adaptability is essential!

  1. Keep it simple

This may sound obvious, but keep it simple! Staying physically active throughout the day may just look like taking a walk around campus during your 10 minute breaks. No need to complicate your already complicated day-to-day life!

  1. Give yourself some grace

If you take anything away from this post, let it be this! GIVE YOURSELF SOME GRACE. You are about to start or continue a vigorous graduate program where your main focus for the next few years is to learn. That is it. Take some time to maintain this as your top priority before adding any other aspirations to your plate. And if you find yourself treading water in the ocean that is life as a graduate student, take a hefty moment to relax, and float.